What do 'the People' Want? Conceptions of Democracy in Six Middle East States
The Arab Uprisings showed how little legitimacy regional dictatorships have - but what do people actually want? The Arab Transformations Project carried out surveys in several countries, which give us hard data on what is important about democracy to people in the Middle East.
EU policy towards its Southern Neighbourhood aims to achieve security for its Member States through development and democracy. This goal assumes there is a shared understanding across the Mediterranean of democracy, security and prosperity, and that Western-style 'market democracy' is the main tool to achieve this.
The Arab Transformations Project conducted public opinion surveys in six Middle Eastern countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq) which show that citizens of Arab countries strongly support democracy. But the data also shows respondents mostly reject the EU brand of democracy – formal, liberal, and market-dominated – in which civil and political rights play second fiddle to social justice and economic rights.
The Arab Uprisings showed how little legitimacy regional dictatorships have - but what do people actually want? The Arab Transformations Project carried out surveys in several countries, which give us hard data on what is important about democracy to people in the Middle East: not just voting and pluralism, but also social justice, economic rights, and a role for religion while distrusting religious leaders." Andrea Teti
In addition, data shows that people do think the EU has not done a good job of supporting democracy in their country, nor do they have much appetite for EU involvement in their countries' domestic politics. This report discusses available data and possible policy options.
Read the full reports here:
- Andrea Teti and Pamela Abbott, "What do the People (Still) Want? Conceptions of Democracy," Arab Transformations Policy Brief No 1
- "What do 'The People' Want? Citizens' perceptions of Democracy and EU-MENA relations," EU Policy Brief I
Author: ArabTrans Project