Getting to Arab Democracy: The Promise of Pacts

Issue Date January 2006
Volume 17
Issue 1
Page Numbers 63-74
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Power-sharing pacts and democracy with guarantees are far from perfect. Still, both Western policy makers and Arab reformers should take a long-term view of democratic change in the Arab world. Not only do pacts hold out the promise of drawing Arab leaders into political reform, but by lengthening the transition process, they can also help lay the foundations for the successful consolidation of democratic institutions. While power-sharing arrangements may be deeply unsatisfying for some Arab reformers, such political deals can significantly increase the likelihood both that liberal opposition activists will survive and that democracy will take root in the Middle East.