Monday, November 3, 2014

Zakaria: An Arab Spring country passes the 'democracy test'

Are we all happy about this? If not, why not? Because it doesn't fit our paradigm?

Going deeper, Zakaria posits that Tunisia succeeded where Egypt failed not because Tunisia's Islamists were better, but because Tunisia was more modern, literate globalized, urban and better-educated, with stronger civic groups and labor unions:
"And so, there was relative parity between Islamists and their opponents. Tunisia's Islamic parties shared power, in other words, not because it was better than the Muslim Brotherhood [in Egypt] but because it had to. Tunisia had more of the preconditions that have historically helped strengthen democracy than did Egypt." 

By Fareed Zakaria 
November 3, 2014 | CNN

Can Arab countries be real democracies? Well, one of them, Tunisia just did well on a big test.

More than twenty years ago, the scholar Samuel Huntington established his famous "two turnover test" for fledgling democracies. He argued that a country can only be said to be a consolidated democracy when there have been TWO peaceful transitions of power.

Tunisia passed Huntington's test after last weekend's election, when – for the second time – a ruling establishment agreed to hand over power. Tunisia's relative success is in marked contrast to the abysmal failure of Egypt, the Arab world’s largest and once most influential country.

As in Tunisia, Egyptians also overthrew a dictator three years ago...but after Egypt's brief experiment with democracy, in which the Muslim Brotherhood was elected and then abused its authority, today the country is ruled by a repressive dictatorship.

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