Constitutional Reform and Political Participation in the by Abdulhadi Khalaf, Giacomo Luciani

By Abdulhadi Khalaf, Giacomo Luciani

The debate on political reform within the Gulf states has intensified dramatically lately. even if, discourse at the subject is mostly couched by way of authoritarianism vs. democratisation. notwithstanding, a extra applicable perspective from which to view it, argues this new ebook, is by way of the evolution of Gulf constitutions and the widening of political participation. The participants show that constitutional reforms have to date served the aim of consolidating absolutely the strength of the rulers yet have additionally allowed the innovative improvement of associations whose consultant personality and effect at the policy-making technique has been transforming into. Political participation has significantly widened – in part due to those new or bolstered associations – yet much more so end result of the elevated entry to info and freedom of expression caused via the IT revolution. not one of the Gulf regimes is really democratic, and an extended evolution shall be beneficial earlier than they are often recognized as such. however, this publication demonstrates that actual swap is occurring and that clients for political reform within the Gulf can even be greater than within the remainder of the Arab world.

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A second issue concerns the nature of the state itself and whether the sources of its legitimacy, the nature of its institutions, the effectiveness of its organizations, the nature of its relationship with society, and finally the relationship between the itself and its rulers do not create obstacles to reform that might prove too difficult to overcome in its present form. While the number of reform measures being introduced is quite impressive, the effectiveness of these initiatives in actually bringing about real change is questionable.

To be assigned the role of an intermediary, whether for short or long periods, does not entitle one to political rights or privileges. The selection of intermediaries is closely guarded and in order to keep one’s intermediary position, one is expected to acknowledge in deeds his/her own subordination to the regime. This, in turn, offers the ruling core in each of the Gulf states ample opportunities to consolidate their position as the supreme patrons. For most of the time, the ruling cores of the Gulf monarchies have demonstrated their remarkable acumen in maintaining balance among intermediaries, whether recruited from traditional or modern corporate groups.

Their achievements are remarkable considering that they have also managed to consolidate the legitimacy of their rule, and to retain the loyalty and support of their social power base. This achievement is evident in the fact that the survival of their regimes has never been seriously questioned. 1- See, further, Heller, Mark and Nadav Safran. 1985. The New Middle Class and Regime Stability in Saudi Arabia, Harvard Middle East Papers, Cambridge, Mass; Lawson, Fred H. 1989. Bahrain: The Modernization of Autocracy.

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