Constitutional Reform and Political Participation in the by Abdulhadi Khalaf, Giacomo Luciani

By Abdulhadi Khalaf, Giacomo Luciani

The debate on political reform within the Gulf states has intensified dramatically in recent times. although, discourse at the subject is generally couched when it comes to authoritarianism vs. democratisation. even though, a extra applicable perspective from which to view it, argues this new e-book, is by way of the evolution of Gulf constitutions and the widening of political participation. The participants display that constitutional reforms have up to now served the aim of consolidating absolutely the strength of the rulers yet have additionally allowed the innovative improvement of associations whose consultant personality and impact at the policy-making procedure has been starting to be. Political participation has significantly widened – in part because of those new or bolstered associations – yet much more so a result of elevated entry to info and freedom of expression led to by way of the IT revolution. not one of the Gulf regimes is actually democratic, and an extended evolution will be useful ahead of they are often regarded as such. however, this publication demonstrates that genuine swap is happening and that clients for political reform within the Gulf will even be higher than within the remainder of the Arab world.

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Modern elites in the Gulf monarchies emerged within sociopolitical structures that are dominated by the ruling families – a dominance guaranteed by British protective agreements. Their right to claim a political role has never been a natural prerogative of their positions in their communities. Theirs is an assigned role and their status is bequeathed. They are selected to provide support and to advise, rather than to represent. Individually, some intermediaries may have been powerful patrons of local networks, clans, villages or religious communities, but they were not allowed to speak for the “people” as a whole.

However, the ruler of Qatar made an unexpected move in 2003 when he announced his decision to discharge his son from the position of crown prince, and replace him with a younger son. There is no credible official explanation for the move, but it nevertheless represents a discontinuity in the expected order of things. E. ’ Compared to the other Gulf ruling families, Oman's ruling family, the Al Said, is small and without influence on the ruler. ”18 Since his assumption of power in 1970 after a palace coup against his father, Sultan Qaboos concentrated all power in his own hands.

In spite of their slow reactions, the ruling cores of the Gulf monarchies also seem aware that their regimes cannot continue to enjoy those privileges associated with their regional role throughout the Cold War era. At the outset, I must make clear three points. First, while each of the ruling families in the Gulf has its own form of family council, these councils wield no real power. Political powers exist outside the formal settings of these councils. Political powers, and the exercise of these powers, remain highly personalized and centralized around what I call the ruling core.

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