Constitutional reform and political participation in the Gulf

Khalaf, Abdulhadi and Giacomo Luciani (ed.)
Gulf Research Center
Call Number
JQ1840 .C66 2006
Reference Only
Number of Pages
Library of Congress Subject Heading
Constitutional law -- Persian Gulf Region -- Congresses
Library of Congress Subject Heading 2
Political participation -- Persian Gulf Region -- Congresses

Abstract: This collection of ten essays adds a new and original perspective to the debate on political reform in the Gulf countries which has intensified in recent years. Rather than couching the issue in the more frequently heard terms of authoritarianism vs. democratization, the book focuses on the evolution of Gulf constitutions and on the widening of political participation. It is shown that constitutional reforms have served the purpose of consolidating the absolute power of the rulers, but have also allowed the progressive development of institutions whose representative character and influence on the policy making process has been growing.Political participation has considerably widened, partly thanks to these new or strengthened institutions, but even more so because of the increased access to information and freedom of expression brought about by the ICT revolution. None of the Gulf regimes is democratic, and a long evolution might be necessary before they deserve to be recognized as such.Nevertheless, real change is taking place, and prospects for political reform in the Gulf may be better than in the rest of the Arab world.