Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Democracy: Middle East Perspectives
Rachid Ouaissa & Jens Heibach
Notwithstanding the political change that has taken place to varying degrees during the past 2 decades in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), an extensive region comprising the 22 members of the Arab League as well as Israel, Iran, and Turkey, Middle East scholars concur in the assessment that, with few exceptions proving the rule, MENA is still a democratic wasteland. Although most of the region's regimes run some sort of representative body or have a formally democratic political system, this statement holds true even when applying a minimalist Schumpeterian definition of democracy focusing on the legitimization of governance through regular free and fair elections. The relative absence of both democratic regimes and substantial democratization processes, especially in the Arab region, has led to intensive discussions about why the region has largely been unaffected by the “Third Wave of Democratization” (Samuel P. Huntington). To denote the ...