The Arab Spring that began in Tunisia and spread throughout the Middle East shook the region. These populous movements unseated authoritarian rulers whose power and position were well entrenched, potentially setting numerous countries on a path towards democratization. This project seeks to explain why the democratic transitions within the countries of Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen have been largely unsuccessful. The large amounts of literature that flooded the academic forums through articles and books are analyzed, providing numerous explanations as to why these transitions have been unsuccessful such as polarization, deadlock, sectarianism, violence, and institutional conflict. This literature focuses on either one or several of the above-mentioned explanations while not pinning down a central cause for these phenomena, since they are all present in all three cases. This paper asserts that the cause of this hindered transition is the emphasis that these States placed upon electoral democracy. An emphasis placed on elections during transition highlighted and exacerbated factors (polarization, deadlock, sectarianism, violence, and institutional conflict) already present in these societies but kept dormant under authoritarian rule. To illustrate this the initial transitional government, representative body elected, and executive is analyzed to show how each governing unit stressed elections before a constitution. The identification of an overarching cause for the lack of fruitful transition like this project seeks to accomplish is of great importance, filling a much needed gap in the literature of comparative Middle Eastern revolutionary studies; along with providing foreign policy makers a tool to craft more impactful policy.
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Sadri, Houman A.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
International and Global Studies
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences; Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Martin, Dominic, "Political Transition in a Post-Arab Spring Middle East: A Comparative Analysis of Tunisia, Egypt, and Yemen" (2014). HIM 1990-2015. 1592.