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The recent string of "elections" across the Arab world raises profound questions about the Arab world's apparent difficulty in adopting institutions and practices of liberal pluralistic democracies.But is the problem really about the ability of Arab social values to accommodate democracy, or is there a deeper problem related to the clumsy nature of statehood that has emerged in this region during the past century? The "elections" I refer to include spectacles in Algeria, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and the Lebanese presidential election-selection that was not even held on time due to political bickering among the country's sectarian leaders. Nowhere in the normal world do elections result in victories of such magnitude as routinely occur in Arab "elections".So it is simple enough for most of us to just ignore the elections taking place in the region. Yet we have had glimpses of democratic transitions that include more credible elements, such as the Tunisian elections in recent years, or the 2012 Egyptian presidential election that saw one candidate win by just a few percentage points. We also see credible elections taking place all over the region in professional associations or student groups.
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