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Lebanese protesters don’t trust their government to reform. Here’s why.

In Lebanon, mass anti-government protests that started last Thursday are now a multiday general strike. These demonstrations appear to be the largest and widest-reaching in the country’s history. On Monday, Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded with proposed concessions, saying that protesters have shaken the political parties and challenged blind loyalties to sect. But protesters aren’t buying it. And while Hariri…

How humiliation is fueling the Arab street

…Consequently, many Arabs say in surveys that they wish to emigrate or are thinking about this. The Arab Barometer project that surveys the entire region every few years recently released the results of its 2018-19 fieldwork. In a June 2019 report entitled Migration in the Middle East and North Africa, by Michael Robbins of Princeton University, it noted that about…

Youth driving opposition to Iraqi corruption

…. Like other Arab countries that are going through transition and crises, it is the youth that are the main drivers of protests and change. A recent survey of youth in the region by the Arab Barometer found that less than half of Iraqi youths identify as religious and only 21 percent are interested in politics. Only 6 percent are…

Ben Ali: the Tunisian autocrat who laid the foundations for his demise

…..Still not out of the woods Following the initial euphoria after he went into went into exile, Tunisians have become increasingly disillusioned with their government. In the most recent survey by Arab Barometer in late 2018, 79% of adults thought that government performance was poor, 92% that the state of the economy was bad and 90% that the government was…

The Future of Democracy in Tunisia

Tunisia’s democratic transition appeared to benefit from pragmatism and consensus over the past eight years. The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, made up of four civil society groups, was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for successfully negotiating a way out of a grave political crisis two years earlier when the transition was close to collapse. Politicians went on to write…

Protests continue in Algeria. Why?

Protests continue in Algeria, for the seventh month. The country’s long-standing leader, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, left office in early April, but the demonstrators continue turning out in the streets calling for more political elites to step down and demanding free and fair elections. The root of citizen anger is not about the president himself, but the failure of the country’s…

In 2011, Egyptians quickly tired of protest. Here’s why that matters for Sudan and Algeria.

….. Public disillusionment with democracy We examined how mobilization in Egypt affected political attitudes after the fall of Mubarak by using local newspaper reporting to map protests, and matching this with data from the Arab Barometer survey. Our findings suggest that within five months of Mubarak’s ouster, Egyptians living in high-protest areas were more likely to associate democracy with socioeconomic…

Tunisian Politics Splinters as Presidential Election Approaches

A wide range of candidates reflects the country’s increasingly fluid political situation as it tries to consolidate the democratic gains of 2011. After close to 100 candidate applications, Tunisia’s presidential election on 15 September will feature 27 confirmed candidates, reflecting the country’s fluid political situation and an ongoing split between traditional parties and alliances and enduring anti-establishment populism. The election…

Do Arabs Want Democracy?

….. Some might interpret the survey results as demonstrating a lack of demand or a lack of belief in democracy on the part of Arabs. They would likely be wrong, or at least be selectively using data that supports their views. Results from the Arab Barometer’s 2018 survey demonstrate, for example, that Arabs increasingly consider democracy to be the best…

Arab World in Transition?

“The attitudes of the publics in the Middle East and North Africa are changing remarkably. Today, 13 percent of the population classify themselves as “not religious”; among young Arabs, the proportion is even higher with 18 percent. This is the result of a recent study by Arab Barometer, a research network for  survey research in the Middle East and North…