14 May 2018 - NPWJ News Digest on Middle East and North Africa Democracy


Western powers cannot 'dine and dash' in the Middle East
by Middle East Eye, 13 May 2018

A ubiquitously disturbing issue in the Middle East and North Africa region is systematically disregarded: the huge costs of a lack of democracy. Democracy is politically and economically the most affordable and rational governmental system humankind has ever achieved. Out of all systems, democracy has the least opportunity cost and minimum political, social and economic costs. In 2010 and 2011, Arab revolts triggered the dormant, century-old question in the MENA region: how much damage were regimes ready to take in order to prevent democracy?

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US and Iran battle for influence in first post-Isis Iraq election
by The Independent, 13 May 2018

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi is ahead in Iraq’s parliamentary election, according to unofficial results, in a poll that has added significance because of the escalating confrontation between the US and Iran. The surprise of the election so far is the strong showing of the Shia populist nationalist cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who has an electoral alliance with the communists, and is said to be in second place, according to election officials speaking off the record. Full results are expected on Monday.

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What can we learn from Lebanon’s elections?
by The Washington Post, 11 May 2018

On May 6, Lebanon held its first parliamentary elections in nearly a decade. Since 2009, Lebanon faces several new challenges — the influx of Syrian refugees, the breakdown of waste management, economic crisis. Sunday’s election was Lebanese voters’ first opportunity to hold parliament accountable for its responses to these challenges. The elections were also an occasion for other firsts — a new electoral law with a proportional representation component, standardized ballot and provision for expat voting; as well as the participation of a record-breaking number of women candidates; and a broad civil society coalition opposing traditional elites.

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Tunisia still has much democratic progress to make despite municipal elections
by The New Arab, 08 May 2018

Tunisia's first free municipal elections on Sunday raised hopes that the country is taking a step further in its transition towards democracy and away from corruption and bureacracy. Over 7,200 figures, out of 57,000 candidates from 55 parties, were selected by voters across 350 municipalities. 2,173 candidate lists were presented: 350 from Ennahdha, Tunisia's largest Islamist party which came to power after the 2011 revolution.

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