Parliaments in the Middle East and North Africa: A Struggle for Relevance
Parliaments in the Arab world have hardly been considered as relevant institutions during the decades of authoritarianism in the post-independence era. If at all, they were of importance as strategic element in the regime’s power-saving strategies. The “Arab Spring” with its loud calls for more democratic and socially just policies opened a phase of retreat for the legislative chambers in the countries concerned, yet to very different avail: for illustration while the Assemblée des Représentants du Peuple in Tunisia gained unprecedented relevance as constitution-maker and governmental watchdog, the Egyptian Maglis al-Sha‘b was dissolved after Islamists sweepingly won the elections, and reinstated only after the old forces had restored their stark grip on power. This Special Issue which takes stock of parliaments in the Arab world ten years after the 2011 uprisings, discusses the state of research and develops a guiding theoretic framework.