Middle East: Voting But For What?

This has been a busy year for polling stations in the Middle East. Presidential elections have been held in Iran, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, parliamentary elections in Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon and local polling in Saudi Arabia. Iraq, the Palestinian Authority and Iran have all seen changes of leadership. All good signs for a region not previously noted for democratic trends. With the next round of Iraqi elections due in mid-December, are votes enough to convince the peoples of the Middle East that democracy really is on its way?

The World Today Published 1 December 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 4 minute READ

Dr Claire Spencer

Visiting Senior Research Fellow, King’s College London

There are two main truisms associated with debates on democracy. The first is that, as the least bad of all possible political systems, the majority of people around the world aspire to be governed by democratic norms. Only a minority attain them, but not for want of trying. The second is that as a form of government based on human rights and equality under the rule of law, democracy can be embraced by any society, in whatever form best reflects its culture and traditions.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.