Political parties in the Middle East

Authored by: Lise Storm

The Routledge Handbook to the Middle East and North African State and States System

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367358877
eBook ISBN: 9780429342486
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



In an authoritarian context, parties are less powerful than in democracies, but they have still played a role both in political change and in stabilizing regimes in MENA. In the period prior to independence, the mobilization of the population by nationalist parties was a decisive factor in making colonial rule too costly. The post-independence explosion in parties gave way to single-party states. After the global Third Wave of democratization, MENA had controlled multi-party systems under electoral authoritarianism, with opposition parties co-opted in return for limited access to power. During this period, the main cleavage, which rulers exploited, became that between Islamist and secular or minority-dominated parties. Where the Uprising initiated democratic transition, new space was opened up for parties. Islamist parties proved the best vote-getters, reflective of the popular perception of them as a break with the old regime and also owing to their superior organization compared to secular rivals.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.