An agency of the EU

Arab transitions: late departure, destination unknown

Brief - No24 - 24 July 2014

Florence Gaub

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To the chagrin of many, Arab transition to democracy did not occur as expected. Then again, transitology (essentially the study of political change) never offered a straightforward formula or magical recipe for the birth, and survival, of democracy – Arab or otherwise.

Of the 90 countries which initiated transitions in the last 50 years, 46% transitioned to democracy within three years; 39% returned to autocracy; and 15% moved gradually to democracy over the course of roughly a decade. But what does this imply for the future of Arab political systems?