7 Items

Paper

What Accounts for the Success of Islamist Parties in the Arab World

Islamist organizations are generally considered to be the strongest and most credible opposition to incumbent regimes throughout the Arab world. Fear of Islamic takeovers has led regimes and other outside powers to justify not holding free elections, citing examples that include the Algerian election of 1991, the Iranian Revolution, the AKP victory in Turkey and the perceived popularity of Islamist opposition groups throughout much of the Arab world (Brumberg 2002). Yet, other analysts have questioned the actual strength of Islamist movements within the Arab world, noting that although Islamists may be the main challenger, few have actually been successful in taking power (Roy 1994).

Policy Brief

What Accounts for the Success of Islamist Parties in the Arab World

Islamist organizations are generally considered to be the strongest and most credible opposition to incumbent regimes throughout the Arab world. Fear of Islamic takeovers has led regimes and outside powers to justify the suppression of free elections by citing the Algerian election of 1991, the Iranian Revolution, the AKP victory in Turkey, and the perceived popularity of Islamist opposition groups throughout much of the Arab world (Brumberg 2002). Yet, other analysts have questioned the actual strength of Islamist movements, noting that although Islamists may be the main challengers, few have actually been successful in taking power (Roy 1994).

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Paper

What Leads Voters to Support the Opposition under Authoritarianism? Evidence from Survey Research in Jordan

| April 2-5, 2009

Voters in authoritarian countries face a much different calculus than voters in democratic societies when choosing which candidate to support. Current explanations of their behavior rely on material incentives, arguing that these voters support pro-regime candidates who they believe can deliver economic resources to them or their regions. However, despite these economic incentives, some voters still choose to support the opposition. This paper examines the factors that lead some citizens to act in this way using a post-election survey in the case of Jordan. It argues that discontent, socio- economic status, and personal connections are key determinants of voters decision to vote for the opposition.

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Paper

The Effect of Elections on Public Opinion towards Democracy: Evidence from Longitudinal Survey Research in Algeria

| April 12-15, 2007

Given the importance of developing a democratic culture for the long-term survival of democracy, it is crucial to understand how support for democracy changes over time in response to different events.  Although democratic transitions vary greatly by case, one common element to each transition, and often the first major event signaling a transition, is the holding of a reasonably free and fair election.  Yet, while there is a significant literature on the effect of elections on public opinion in developed democracies, this topic has received far less attention in transitioning and authoritarian countries.  This paper addresses this hole in the literature by examining the effects of the first relatively free and fair election in a country’s history on support for democracy among ordinary citizens. It finds that groups that are excluded from participation in the election and individuals who believe that an election was not free and fair also lose support for democracy.

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Journal Article - Journal of Conflict Resolution

What Leads Some Ordinary Men and Women in Arab Countries to Support Terrorism Against the United States?: Evidence from Survey Research in Algeria and Jordan

| April 2007

Findings from representative national surveys in Algeria and Jordan show that nei- ther religious orientations, judgments about Western culture, nor economic circum- stances account for variance in approval of terrorist acts against U.S. targets. Alternatively, in both countries, approval of terrorism against the United States is dis- proportionately likely among men and women with negative judgments about their own government and about U.S. foreign policy. Taken together, these findings sug- gest that approval of terrorism is fostered by negative attitudes toward actors consid- ered responsible for the political and economic status quo. Given that Algeria and Jordan have had different experiences with respect to terrorism and also differ in demographic, political, and economic structure, identical findings from these dis- similar countries suggest that the observed relationships are not country specific and may apply more generally.