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Political Change in the Middle East and North AfricaAfter the Arab Spring$
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Inmaculada Szmolka

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474415286

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474415286.001.0001

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Parties and party system change

Parties and party system change

(p.63) Chapter 3 Parties and party system change
Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa

Lise Storm

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines parties and party system change across the MENA countries since December 2010. The discussion begins with a brief overview of party systems in the region on the eve of the Arab Spring, thereby providing a quick introduction to the selected cases as well as a benchmark against which to measure change. Party system change is determined via indicators such as the effective number of parties, party system fragmentation, electoral volatility and the entry of new parties into the system. The analysis of the indicators of party system change is coupled with a discussion of empirical data on the political environment during and in the immediate aftermath of the elections, including issues such as regime classification, rotation of power, coalition structures, prohibited parties, and societal cleavages. The author explains how - despite the fact that some old regimes fell and elections were held - the traditionally dominant or hegemonic political parties stayed preeminent in a number of MENA countries. Finally, this chapter shows what party system change tells us about the prospects for democracy some five years after the outbreak of the Arab Spring.

Keywords:   Political change, MENA countries, Arab Spring and Post-Arab Spring, Political parties, Party-systems, Party-system fragmentation, Electoral volatility, Elections

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