Has the Arab Spring Led toward Democratic Gains? Examining the democratic implications of the recent uprisings in the Arab world using different data sources

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: What happened in the Middle East and North Africa after 2011? Did the millions of people in the MENA-region who demanded democracy experience democratic gains? Approaching seven years on, more than ten Arab countries have attempted at regime reform and to some degree, succeeded. By the blunt measures of overthrow versus not, only six countries succeeded to oust their leaders; in terms of democratization, only Tunisia is viewed as a success story. Although Tunisia witnesses a constitutional reform with a transition to a presidential-parliamentary state, there remain implications that the reformed state is making investments in institutions which may develop to democracy’s detriment. Yet, other countries have yet to experience any reforms in the least. Theories concerning why some Arab countries lack the requisites for a democratic transition have been manifold, and this masters-thesis will, together with quantifiable data on changes in the MENA-region, contribute to the existing literature on democratization in the MENA-region. In comparing quantifiable data from two different sources, this study concludes that, despite the inability to generalize the outcomes due to limited data, the democratic changes since the Arab Spring have only been sustainable in Tunisia.

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