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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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Political liberalisation processes

Political liberalisation processes

(p.379) Chapter 16 Political liberalisation processes
Political Change in the Middle East and North Africa

Inmaculada Szmolka

Irene Fernández-Molina

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the political liberalisation processes undertaken in MENA countries such as Morocco, Jordan, Oman and Algeria. As on previous occasions, the post-2011 political liberalisation processes were planned and led by the authoritarian rulers in a top-down fashion, acting as an escape valve for authoritarian regimes to defuse social discontent. These reforms were largely cosmetic and therefore have not led to a change in the authoritarian nature of the political regimes. The reforms focused mainly on two aspects: reforms of the constitution and party and electoral laws and changes in each regime’s degree of representation and/or political participation. Although there are positive aspects, the reforms have not brought about substantial changes in power relations. Only in the case of Morocco did these changes produce alternation in government although even there, the repercussions were limited by the need for the election winning party to form a coalition government and because of royal interference in the executive.

Keywords:   Political change, Arab Spring and Post-Arab Spring, Political liberalisation, Authoritarianism, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Oman

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