An Assessment of Democratic Transition in the Arab World: The Case of Algeria

Mohamed A.A. Abu RUMMAN


This paper aims at reviewing the theoretical and empirical literature related to the evolution of democracy in the Arab world with specific focus on Algerian democratic transition in the last two decades. The paper attempts to find answers to a number of questions related to the nature and directions of how Algeria has been ruled since independence and to show how democracy is interpreted and perceived by the rulers and people. In order to understand the democratic development and transition of Arab states including Algeria, light will be shed on the modern theory of democracy from multiple perspectives. In this case the paper is descriptive in nature. This approach is often pursued by researchers assessing political phenomena (Rose, 2001;Talbi and Spencer, 2000) . It has long been debated that the root causes of a “democratic deficit” in Arab societies are linked to cultural issues, lags in economic development and to colonial history and international factors that continue to play a significant role in shaping the political landscape in the region. However, this paper assumes that, taking Algerian case as an example the control of one-party rule or one-individual rule is taking priority over democratic choice. There is evidence that there is no real circulation of power, as it is the case in modern democratic systems. Continuing violence and bloody military coups that accompanied the evolution of democratic transition supports this conclusion. In Algeria, the president is the person who receives the blessing of the military and western support. This is evident in the exclusion of rivals for the presidency under false pretenses.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Democracy; Algeria; Transition; Arab World; Conflict

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