The Road towards Democratic Consolidation in the Middle East

Decent Essays

The regional comparison of democratic aspirations (Table 2) shows no significant difference between the public opinion of people in the Middle East with other regions, particularly the West, about the importance of democracy and having a democratic system, free elections, and civil rights. Desire to have a democratic system has been consistently high in the Middle East compared to other regions, while no significant move toward democratization or political mobilization has occurred for a long time prior to the Arab Spring. Also, change over time in the desire to have a democratic political system among Middle Easterners over the span of a decade is insignificant (Figure 1). Therefore, one can argue that the democratic aspirations alone may not affect individuals’ decisions to become politically active and mobilize against authoritarianism.
One interesting finding of this research (although this has already been observed in other research) is the striking contrast between democratic aspirations and liberal values in Middle Eastern Muslim countries (Table 2). Norris and Inglehart (2002) demonstrated that the Middle Eastern countries significantly lag behind in social beliefs about gender equality and sexual liberation among both older and younger generations, as opposed to the West, where people are much more liberal, particularly among the younger generation. In democracy studies, it is often observed that countries that have successfully transitioned into consolidated

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