Fatah and Hamas share a parochial perspective on elections, with each looking to exploit the issue in order to gain the upper hand against its rival and shore up its battered legitimacy.
Cases of relative stability today in the Arab world do not solely stem from whether the system in question is a monarchy or a republic, but also from the degree of social and political pluralism in society and how it is channeled.
While the popular revolution in Tunisia drew strength from its lack of leadership, the absence of a unified voice for the revolution has led to a an incoherent and muddled transition process.
Voter approval of constitutional amendments in Egypt provides a strong boost to the military-led transition process, however the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has yet to announce the schedule of elections or clarify the electoral procedures that will govern them.
The king has promised significant constitutional reforms; will he allow changes that would lessen his own powers?
The “native-foreigner” issue has a long history in Bahrain and implications for stability in countries throughout the Gulf.
Syria’s relative lack of civil society freedom might insulate its government from Egyptian style demonstrations for now, while the greater level of contact between the regime and society might protect it from a rebellion akin to Libya’s.
In order for Iraq to maximize petroleum wealth and meet the country’s economic demands, clearer lines of authority between the central government and the regional governments need to be drawn and Baghdad may have to manage resources more directly.
Facing a polarized political atmosphere and the specter of international tribunal findings that are expected to shake Lebanon’s stability, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati may not be able to deliver on his promise to create a national unity government.
Prime Minister Bakhit’s mixed record on political reform raises questions about whether his cabinet will implement changes that insulate Jordan from the pressure of mass protests.
Gulf parliaments have come to provide some semblance of democratic representation, but all are struggling against dominant regimes and must organize politically and carve out a distinctive role to better represent the people.
History has taught Egyptians not to trust promises of reform from the halls of power. As such, popular protest and international pressure must continue and the army must support the protesters or remain neutral for real democratic change to be achieved.
The time for top-down political reform has come and gone in Egypt. In its place the world is seeing bottom-up change, with all its inherent risks.
Turkey has greatly expanded its economic and security relationships with its Arab neighbors in a drive to increase its role as regional power, while Arab states retain concerns about ties with the powerful Turkish economy.
The Moroccan regime has employed roundabout methods to strengthen its grip over the institutions still most capable of criticism: the independent and international press.
The Sadrists' endorsement of Nouri al-Maliki has placed him one step closer to retaining his post as prime minister, yet political wrangling and negotiating have escalated between all major Iraqi parties and a new Iraqi government may not be formed any time soon.
Morocco's leading leftist party struggles to maintain its integrity and coherence in a political scene dominated by the palace.
Redirection of U.S. democracy assistance in Egypt is raising questions about the Obama administration's interest in democracy promotion.
King Abdullah's November 2009 dissolution of the parliament was welcomed by the opposition, particularly Islamists, because it affords an opportunity to address the country's electoral law and representation of citizens of Palestinian origin.
Morocco's local elections brought many more women into office than ever before, but it is a step that was legislated rather than chosen at the ballot box.