Governance

Reforming Arab economies in times of distrust

…RISING ASPIRATIONS, TIMID REFORMS After the regional slowdown in growth that followed the start of the Arab Spring, authorities in 2011 mostly focused on macroeconomic stabilization efforts that had been delayed until they became inevitable. These policies—which included cuts in consumer subsidies and increased taxes—were deeply unpopular and eroded the purchasing power of the middle class. According to the Arab…

Algeria’s presidential elections to be held amid disagreements between army and protesters over roadmap

The Algerian people can guarantee that, for the first time in two decades, the president will not be Abdelaziz Bouteflika. They will vote for a new head of state on Thursday. But this is no indication that the country will have a smooth transition by any means amid a 10-month, post-Bouteflika protests. Following the country’s Hirak movement — or the…

An Expiry Date for Despots?

A new wave of Arab uprisings suggests that the authoritarian bargain of the past may be collapsing. While thousands of Algerian citizens have continued to protest peacefully for the 40th consecutive week, demanding an accountable government and an end to corruption, streets in Iraq and Lebanon have turned into places of mass protests and ongoing confrontations between angry citizens and…

Across the Middle East, they are done with false prophets ​

When do demonstrations become a revolution? We romanticise the failures of the Arab Spring. But success has its costs, too. In the modern Middle East, only the Iranian Revolution has succeeded in bringing a new ruling class to power. But the 1979 revolution failed to bring about what the philosopher Michel Foucault predicted would be a new political dawn –…

Five Lessons From the New Arab Uprisings

…The fifth and final lesson is that the call for change in the region goes beyond electoral democracy and extends to deep socioeconomic reforms. Iraq and Lebanon show this clearly: relatively free and fair elections have already been held but have served only to reinforce corrupt sectarian regimes. According to the fifth wave of the Arab Barometer, the economic situation…

Five Lessons From the New Arab Uprisings

…The fifth and final lesson is that the call for change in the region goes beyond electoral democracy and extends to deep socioeconomic reforms. Iraq and Lebanon show this clearly: relatively free and fair elections have already been held but have served only to reinforce corrupt sectarian regimes. According to the fifth wave of the Arab Barometer, the economic situation…

Cartelization, Neoliberalism, and the Foreclosure of the Jasmine Revolution: Democracy’s Troubles in Tunisia

While frequently hailed as the sole success story of the Arab Uprisings, the consolidation of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution has in fact proven deeply problematic. This paper will argue that the frailty of Tunisia’s democratic present is a direct function of liberal democratization, specifically implicating this practice of democratization in the hollowing and cartelization of the political system. In insulating policymaking…

Legitimacy and “Transitional Continuity” in a Monarchical Regime: Case of Morocco

The Arab uprisings and outbreak of mass protest in many countries in the Arab world, requesting the change of regimes and political leaders, translate a deep malaise in the state-society relationship and an alarming crisis of the state legitimacy. Hence, this paper seeks to understand the intriguing nature of the Moroccan political system and its legitimacy formula as a monarchical…

Do Female Local Councilors Improve Women’s Representation?

Tunisia’s 2018 municipal elections, in which a legislated quota was implemented and women won 47 percent of seats, raises questions about whether electing female councilors improves women’s representation in clientelistic settings. Using data from the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI), an original survey of 3,600 Tunisians conducted in 2015 by the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), this article…

Islam, Religious Outlooks, and Support for Democracy

Despite a wealth of studies examining Muslim religiosity and democracy, uncertainty regarding Islam and attitudes toward democracy remains. Although the claims concerning the incompatibility of Islam and democracy are generally discarded, public opinion scholarship has yet to build much further from this important first step or incorporate a strong theoretical framework for analysis beyond this basic foundation. This paper seeks…

Demobilising the February 20 Movement in Morocco: regime strategies during the Arab Spring

The case of the February 20 Movement (F20) during the Arab Spring in Morocco demonstrates that when social movements face an existential crisis, they focus on maintaining relevance and resonance with the public. In this stage, movements typically experiment with prognostic frames to test resonance with the public and state reactions; however, F20 was not united in how to best…