The Editors’ introduction to “Democratization in the Arab World?”
Volume 13, Issue 4
Democratization in the Arab World?
Since a tenuous political opening a decade ago, the Mubarak regime has systematically asphyxiated democracy in Egypt.
While many obstacles to democracy gravely mar Algeria's political life, the country's trajectory still affords some grounds for guarded optimism.
Since the 1950s, Morocco has engaged in reforms that have established a relatively open political and economic system, but democracy has not gained much in the bargain.
Saudi Arabia would seem to exemplify full-blown authoritarianism. Yet there are trends pushing the country toward more open politics.
How well-founded are Western concerns that the nascent parliaments of Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain will be captured by antidemocratic Islamists and lead to the ‘Talibanization’ of the Gulf?
While President Ali ABdallah Salih continues to call Yemen an ’emerging democracy,’ it more closely resembles athe autocracy of the pre-unification North.
Politics in the Arab Middle East is often a matter of powerholders first liberalizing — and then "deliberalizing" — public life in order to first maintain their rule. But this "survival strategy" is a dead end.
Though it is a burning issue in many countries, the question of money and politics is seldom studied on a worldwide scale.
Realizing that power would slip from his grasp if he allowed an honest presidential election in 2002, longtime strongman Robert Mugabe resorted to antidemocratic tactics that set a new low in cruelty and dishonesty.
What do Muslims think about democracy? Although reliable evidence is hard to come by, survey data from Central Asia open a window on this matter of vital concern in the Muslim world and beyond.
In 1997, Thailand adopted constitutional reforms. Now, five years after the reforms and almost two years into the premiership of Thaksin Shinawatra, we can see the gaps and ironies that the reforms left behind.
During the 1990s, politics in the small post-Soviet state of Moldova was more competitive than anyone would have expected. Yet there was less to this surprising pluralism than met the eye.
Why did Belarusians return dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power in September 2001? Could a better-managed opposition campaign have made a difference?
In March 2002, three-fifths of Ukraine’s voters chose a party or coalition opposed to the overbearing presidential apparatus of Leonid Kuchma, but the antipresidential forces found themselves frozen out in the new parliament.
The Gambia provides a lesson in how authoritarians can hold votes yet rob their people of the power that the ballot box is supposed to give them.
A review of Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism by Joshua Muravchik.
Reports on elections in Bolivia, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, the Czech Republic, Guinea, Papua New Guinea.
Excerpts from: Egyptian sociologist and prodemocracy activist Saad Eddin Ibrahim’s written statement; the Arab Human Development Report; UN Development Program Administrator Mark Malloch Brown’s address launching the 2002 Human Development Report; Columbian president Alvaro Uribe Vélez’s inaugural address; Chair of the African Union (AU) and South African president Thabo Mbeki’s speech at the inauguration of…