Gauging Arab Support for Democracy

Issue Date July 2005
Volume 16
Issue 3
Page Numbers 83-97
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The Arab world stands out as a region for its limited progress toward democracy. At the same time, eight national surveys in six Arab countries between 2000 and 2004 show that 90 percent or more of those interviewed would like to see a democratic political system in their country. This does not necessarily imply support for secular democracy, however. Roughly half of the respondents who support democracy also believe that Islam should play an important role in political affairs. It remains to be seen whether popular support for democracy, coupled with recent, albeit limited political openings in some Arab countries, will lead to sustained democratic transitions.