First Published: 2017-06-16

Morocco tops Arab Democracy Index for fourth consecutive year
ARI director says overall decline in Arab Democracy Index was largely expected due to decrease or closure of freedoms that were opened to Arab communities in 2011.
Middle East Online

The report stressed the urgent need to bolster supervisory functions in the political system in the Arab world

LONDON - Morocco has kept the top spot in the Arab Democracy Index for the fourth consecutive year, followed by Tunisia and Jordan, according to a report developed by the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, in partnership with 10 research centres in the Arab world.

ARI director Bassma Kodmani said that much has changed in the Arab region during the preparation of this report. However, the overall decline in the Arab Democracy Index was largely expected due to the decrease or closure of the freedoms that were opened to the Arab communities in 2011.

It is now clear that the optimism that accompanied the Arab Spring revolutions triggering breakthrough in the process of democratic transformation was misplaced, said Kodmani.

Ten Arab countries were included in this ranking: Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

The report took into consideration many indicators to measure the progress in democratic practices, freedom of expression, respect for citizens' rights, enforcement and transparency in the work of governmental organizations.

Kodmani noted that Arab leaders still believe that they can only enact legal provisions to satisfy their people in formality without applying them in practice, and to continue their positions by circumventing and rejecting the spirit of democracy.

The leaders intransigence and the inability of state institutions to ensure democratization may pose the greatest threat to the slight and fragile progress of some indicators, she said.

The report, which is based on surveys conducted in 2015, stressed the urgent need to bolster supervisory functions in the political system, parliamentary accountability capabilities, respect the judiciarys independence and control the functioning of the security services.

It also recommended supporting the role of women in the labour force, reforming education and giving more freedoms to the media to participate effectively in the development of public debate and in the awareness of citizens.

The ranking of countries surveyed as follows, on a scale of 1000 points:

1. Morocco 735

2. Tunisia 690

3. Jordan 640

4. Kuwait 631

5. Algeria 589

6. Palestine 538

7. Lebanon 532

8. Egypt 503

9. Bahrain 436

10. Saudi Arabia 419


Syria rebels prepare to quit penultimate pocket of Ghouta

Egyptians prepare to vote with Sisi reelection guaranteed

Israel ministers welcome US appointment of 'friend' Bolton

Iran slams US sanctions over hacking scheme

Iraqi widow saved recruits from slaughter by IS

Policeman dead in bombing in Alexandria

Syrians in Manbij fear Turkey, bet on US

Quick victory unlikely in Egypt assault on IS

Sisi, Egypt's undisputed leader and 'father figure'

PKK to quit northwest Iraq after Turkish threat

Iraqi asylum seeker gets life sentence for London bombing

UK says Israeli sentencing of Palestinian teenage girl "emblematic"

Sarkozy vows to clear name in Libya probe

Syria announces second evacuation deal for rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

Three dead after suspected IS gunman takes hostages in France

170,000 flee violence in Syria's Afrin

Norway proposes bill to ban full-face veils in education

Turkey says EU statements on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

Air strikes hit Ghouta despite rebel ceasefire effort

US approves $1 billion in Saudi defence contracts

Saudi to carry out nuclear power deal with or without US

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007