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The state of reform in the Arab World 2009-2010: The Arab Democracy Index
Khalil Shikaki et al. (ed.)
Source of the information:
The Arab Reform Initiative & The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research
This report seeks to influence the process of democratic transition by providing an index that allows advocates of democracy in the Arab world to monitor the evolution of this process. It could also serve as an important advocacy learning tool for citizens who wish to hold leaders to account and participate in decision making.
The Index’s overall score has improved to 538, compared to 522 in the previous survey.
The individual countries’ scores indicate that the discrepancies between the ten countries are staggering.
This result suggests that there is need to carry out a detailed study into the reasons for the relative progress made in the domain of public institution-building.
Democratic transition is still at an embryonic stage and remains largely reliant on external encouragement.
Recommendations/ conclusions include:
The need is urgent in the Arab world to guarantee greater political and civil freedom, not only through more legislation but also by enhancing monitoring functions and the role of human rights organizations.
There is a pressing need to make the issues of social justice and social and economic rights the core of the reform process.
There is a pressing need to reform education by allocating bigger budgets, combating illiteracy, reducing the school drop-out rate, and improving the conditions of education, especially for females.
The ability to implement the above recommendations is closely connected to the ability to strengthen relevant public institutions, such as parliaments, the judiciary, and authorities responsible for law and order.
The failure in the practices of democratic change is clearly visible in the lack of popular confidence in the performance of public institutions.
It also appears in the maltreatment of the political opposition, arbitrary arrests, abuse of detainees, and the inability to organize public meetings and demonstrations, and the increase in public expenditure on security rather than education and health care.