Aug. 3, 2010, 11:31 a.m.
The uncertain transition period in Egypt and upcoming elections in Jordan serve as reminders of the disappointing state of democracy in the Middle East. The Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) has released its 2010 Arab Democracy Index. The report is well worth a read for students of the Middle East. ARI is primarily composed of Arab institutions and the research reflects a strong attention to local context. The report rates ten Arab countries side-by-side with an impressive number of indicators. It also differentiates between countries' formal institutions, and the way the society actually functions.
The annual report-card, titled The State of Reform in the Arab World - The Arab Democracy Index, shows that the region has developed the institutional means to transition to democratic governments but has not yet universally applied them into practice. Think tank warns of need for progress in the area of practices extending to all aspects of life, or advances could be lost
The Index, in its second edition, covers ten Arab countries with the mission to eventually cover all the countries in the Arab world. The study measures forty indicators to gauge four major values and principles relevant to the democratization process: strong and accountable public institutions, respect for rights and freedoms, the rule of law, and equality and social justice. The selected indicators measure daily political, economic and social issues, and reflect the entire democratic decision-making process