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Towards a democratisation of the Middle-East?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The explanation of Middle-East.
  3. Problems and questions to be answered.
    1. Regional features that can have a direct or indirect influence on the democratisation of the region.
    2. The factors leading towards democracy.
  4. Theoretical framework for analysis.
    1. Middle-East and the wave of democratization.
    2. Huntington's view.
    3. The three theories of democratization.
  5. The beginning of a transition.
    1. Regular elections in the Middle-East.
    2. Example of Saudi Arabia.
    3. The Iraqi legislative elections of 2005.
    4. The reluctance to democratization.
  6. Conclusion.
  7. Bibliography.

The Middle East has traditionally been a region where democracy has never really managed to break through. The times of the caliphs had been replaced by a more or less violent period of colonisation. When the time for decolonisation finally came, most of the states ?some more or less artificially created by the Western states and authorities- if not returned back to their old mode of performance, simply embraced authoritarian forms, that still remain nowadays, even if many pressures from the outside but also from the inside tended to make a certain dose of reforms and changes necessary. We could even say that the Middle-East belongs to this group of regions of the world which are the most retarded as far as democratization is concerned. Indeed, we could, when taking a closer look fail to find, a really consolidated democracy in the area, a democracy consolidated for a time long enough to be considered as a real democracy.

[...] It would be premature to demand the sharp overnight introduction of political parties and of a clear political system in a country that doesn't have a clear democratic tradition; but the fact that only individuals could candidate for the election doesn't enhance the creation of political parties, or of other associations of people. In other words, the eagerness of the elites for democratic reforms in this case has to be balanced with an evident lack of willingness to form sufficient conditions that would enable the organizations and the mass to have democratic views. [...]

[...] Huntington (Huntington p15-16) puts this definition of wave of democratization forward: wave of democratisation is a group of transition from non democratic to democratic regimes that occurs within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction during that period of time. A wave also involves liberalization or partial democratization in political systems that do not become fully democratic. Each of the two first waves of democratisation was followed by a reverse wave in which some but not all of the countries that had previously made the transition to democracy?. [...]

[...] Democratization is a complicated process, which requires the consent of the leaders and of the populations. This situation is far from being achieved by now, but the signs we've been able to witness since roughly fifteen years in the area seem promising for the future, even if nothing can really be predicted. Huntington himself, in his previously cited wave theory admitted that some returns to less democratic forms of government were sparsely noticed in the general context of march to the democracy. [...]

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