only search

Our partners

We would like to thank the Network for Social Change, Fritt Ord and the National Endowment for Democracy for their generous support of our work.

Bahrain on North Africa West Asia

Though the Arab Spring has taken most of the world by storm, in some Middle East countries a less visible process is under way. In Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere - existing powers have used a hybrid of constitutional reform and economic stimulus to satisfy the immediate demands of their peoples. Despite temporary success, these countries face a longer-term crisis of authority. Will constitutional reform be enough to maintain order, what will it look like and where will it lead? Return to Arab Awakening

Europe’s misguided applause for Morocco’s reform process

Stability under the cover of autocracy is not only unjust and brutal but also unsustainable.

Women’s rights in the new Tunisian constitution

The constitution was voted in during a period when belief in the status quo changing had lost all traction. Due to the security situation, public opinion was dominated by fear. As such, Tunisia's transition will have to take place on a different level, namely in the field of legislation and legal practice.

Tunisia’s new constitution: progress and challenges to come

Most Tunisians agree that their new constitution is an advance, despite the imperfections. The people’s new democratic spirit is what will make Tunisia a success, and it will hopefully serve as an inspiration for the entire Arab region in times to come.  (4,485 words)

The government is refusing to honour its own commitments on giving powers to parliament

The British government's failure to keep its word on the issue demonstrates once again that it is determined to keep as much power in its own hands as possible. Parliamentary sovereignty remains a myth.

Islam and politics

There remains a deeper problem in making a religious text foundational and that can be summed up in one word: commitment.

Reconnecting the political class

How can the political class reconnect with voters before it becomes irrelevant? How can our institutions reform themselves to bring them closer to people? Ted Cantle has some ideas...

The road to federal consociationalism

Many Israeli Jewish intellectuals, activists and politicians over the years have spoken out clearly for a one-state solution. They were very aware of the consequences of war and conflict, and arrived at the conclusion that we must live together, sharing food, water, resources, and even politics.  

It is worth a delay or two to put Tunisia on the right democratic path

The articles at stake now in the constitutional debates are too significant to wrap up in a matter of weeks


Underrated legislations: Arab parliaments could play a crucial transformational role

Arab parliaments have traditionally played a largely ceremonial and self-serving role in politics. But now, they must take a leading role in the renewal of democracy in the Middle East.

Presidents, Prime Ministers and the Arab Spring

After a year of quiet turmoil under Ennahda's rule, post-revolution Tunisia faces many challenges. Sujit Choudhry and Richard Stacey have had a look at semi-presidentialism and have been evaluating which political system would be more beneficial to Tunisia's citizens.

Democratic reform in Turkey: constitutional ‘moment’ or constitutional process?

Constitutions are highly entrenched laws that express the common identity of the nation. They require substantial public involvement. Yet in Turkey, the details of the reform process have not been fully disclosed, and it is being rushed through.

Institutionalising the Arab Gulf Governments

For the Arab States of the Gulf there are two kinds of reforms, those that are acceptable and those that are off limits. Off limit calls for reform include calling for a constitutional monarchy. Acceptable calls for reform on the other hand include advocating for women's rights and for the election of municipal councils. Is there a middle ground?

The new Egyptian constitution: an initial assessment of its merits and flaws

Egypt cannot be described as a religious state, given that political power remains firmly in the hands of civilians, but religion will now play a real role in inspiring how the state is to function. And military trials of civilians have been elevated to a constitutional principle.

The failings of the process of adopting the Egyptian constitution

If the constitution is approved by a simple majority of voters, the opposition would have no reason to abandon protesting the outcome and instability will persist.

Constitutional highway to theocracy

Egypt's constitutional draft should be rejected, the draft contains many dangers regarding private property, the separation of powers and judicial independence for instance. It is important to understand the actual hazards of the constitutional draft and its possible consequences.

The upcoming general strike in Tunisia: a historical perspective

The first general strike in Tunisia since 1978 takes place in a much-changed country and against old friends but for rather similar reasons.

President Morsi’s hazardous calculation

Morsi’s announcement has exacerbated the indignation of the opposition which is under the impression it is being blackmailed: either it votes yes on the constitutional referendum, or Morsi keeps unlimited powers.

Egypt’s constitution: the gatekeepers of the old regime and those who backtrack on their word

The official spokesman for Egypt’s al-Nour party and elected member of its Constituent Assembly writes to explain why President Morsi had to act as he did in defence of a political legitimacy won through the ballot box.

The 'politics' in Ethiopia's political trials

The Ethiopian regime is using the legal system to eliminate dissident voices and drag protesters to court under terrorism charges. Far from guaranteeing equality and justice, the country’s courts serve as an instrument in the Government’s hands to legitimize persecution of political adversaries while justifying its practices to the west.

Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire seems to be holding

Calls for comprehensive peace negotiations abound given the inability of conventional western military tactics to deal with the increasing effectiveness of asymmetrical warfare, and the need to compel all parties to forge a solution that recognizes the necessity of all sides to be secure in their homes.

Supranational courts and cosmopolitan norms as agents of change

To the chagrin of many committed Realists, states today operate in an indubitably ethical environment influenced by a revival of the cosmopolitan tradition.

Israel's champion of lawmakers

The man who defeated Zvulun Orlev for the leadership of Jewish Home doesn't have his legislative experience.

Egypt's draft constitution: an analysis

The text of the Egyptian state's new constitution is reaching a critical juncture. How does it measure up to fundamental rights and principles, and accord with recent constitutional practice elsewhere in the world? Zaid Al-Ali inspects the document.

Yemen’s National Dialogue: will it succeed?

Eleven months after the signature of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s [GCC] initiative and the  formation of the new Government of National Unity and nine months after the election of the interim President, where are we with Yemen's National Dialogue? Things are different this time - but are they any more likely to last?

USA holds its breath as Saudi Arabia’s uprising surmounts the regime’s impregnable shield

In Saudi eyes any concession, no matter how insignificant, let alone a triumph by the Bahraini uprising, would definitely inspire its own Shia to rebel against the regime.

Should one expect security sector reform in Egypt?

In the stand-off between the two main political actors, control over the security sector will be a major issue at stake. Both groups are convinced that they will only be able to maintain their domination over the political scene provided that they enjoy control over the security institutions.

New Tunisian Salafist Party: a threat to democratic transition?

Jabhat al-Islah denounces violence and might have the potential to embed Tunisia's Salafist movement in the political process

The here and now: revolutionary?

The fundamental incoherence surrounding the state of Egyptian thought stems from a number of unanswered questions; the biggest of which is - was this a revolution?

Saudi Arabia's moribund monarchy

Though only a limited reform, and one that seems to have been quickly dispatched, the Allegiance Institute remains an important milestone. It was a tacit acknowledgment that despite the King's power he does not rule alone.

Jordan: smoke, mirrors and election laws

‘Confusing? That’s the point! The Government has upgraded “Divide and Conquer” to “Confuse and Conquer”’.

A vote of confidence in Egypt’s presidency

The ability of the executive to set a clear and cohesive national agenda that is practical enough to be achieved requires genuine independence and freedom from the politics of parliamentary systems. What is needed is an executive who works with parliament for the people, rather than for parliament simply in the name of the people. 

Egypt’s presidential run-off: legal limbo and the transition to nowhere

The best way for the military to retain its privileges would be to step back from its high-visibility role. The more time that passes, though, the higher the cost of doing this will be — as the military’s iron grip on institutions drives opposition forces towards, and not away, from each other

Gulf union or merger? Assessing calls for a Saudi and Bahrain-led Gulf Union

The push for a Gulf Union is not the first step in a regional alliance, but the beginning of a merger between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to fend off the chance that Shi’a political mobilisation will destroy vital Saudi interests.

Interview with Galal Maktari, founder of the Independent Yemen Group

Filippo Dionigi met Galal Maktari, founder member of the newly established Independent Yemen Group, to discuss with him the events taking place in Yemen during the last two dramatic years, and the non-violence that has given way to factionalism.

Tunisia: free speech double standards

In Tunisia, the flag of freedom of expression has often been waved when politically convenient and forgotten when it isn’t.
Syndicate content