While the departure of President Ben Ali does not necessarily signal a democratic transition, the international community can play a role in creating space for a genuine democracy to take root in Tunisia.
While Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has succeeded in maintaining political power, the new government still faces significant challenges, including complex political alliances that could undermine much needed legislation.
The United States is competing to influence a new Iraqi government that is as dependent on Iran as it is on the United States and the outcome of this competition is still very much in doubt.
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement marked the end of two decades of civil conflict in Sudan and was the culmination of peace negotiations to find a comprehensive, lasting solution to the conflict that had divided north and south Sudan.
The level of education among job seekers in Tunisia has improved, yet, the government still fails to make policies that guarantee enough job creation to absorb new entrants to the labor market, causing the country's youth feelings of frustration and despair.
The economic and social conditions of Egypt’s youth require the government to take concrete actions to reform the education, labor, and credit markets.
While the National Democratic Party was able to manipulate the parliamentary elections in order to secure victory for their candidates, they have not managed to guarantee Gamal Mubarak’s succession in the upcoming presidential elections.
Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections created a host of problems for the ruling party, not the least of which is that they drained nearly all remaining credibility from the country's electoral system.
The lengthy list of violations observed in the recent Egyptian parliamentary elections limits the integrity, transparency, and competitiveness of the elections and undermines the promises of the ruling establishment to hold free and pluralistic elections.
The recent election of Osama Nujeifi as speaker of the Iraqi parliament was the first step toward ending an eight-month political deadlock, but Nujeifi’s well-known opposition to Kurdish nationalist claims could alienate Kurdish politicians.
The lack of transparency and the presence of widespread irregularities in the voting and counting process have given Egypt’s parliamentary elections little credibility among both international and domestic observers.
Even though the Obama administration was unable to persuade President Mubarak to accept international election monitors, it is important to continue showing U.S. support for political reform and human rights in Egypt.
While the participation of both domestic monitors and international observers set a precedent for transparency in Jordan’s parliamentary elections, larger problems regarding electoral laws and accurate representation still persist.
The agreement signed on November 11, intended to pave the way for the formation of an Iraqi government, has already proven to be extremely fragile and there is a strong possibility that it may fail.
Given the overall political climate in Egypt and divisions within the Muslim Brotherhood, it seems likely that the Brotherhood will have a weaker showing in the upcoming elections than it did in 2005.
With growth in most Middle Eastern and North African economies expected to accelerate in 2010 and 2011, their governments should focus on the severe structural policy challenges plaguing their medium term economic outlooks.
The project of transforming Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party from a large and diverse group of people seeking power through a connection to the presidency into a true political party is still a work in progress.
Moqtada al-Sadr’s decision to support Nouri al-Maliki’s quest for a second term as Iraqi prime minister has given new impetus to negotiations over the formation of a new government but it has not solved any of the underlying obstacles preventing the creation of a politically viable government.
While regime supporters claim that the public is against the idea of international monitoring, there is growing support from opposition movements and broad sectors of the Egyptian public in favor of international electoral monitors as a safeguard against election fraud.
The Egyptian parliamentary elections in 2010 and the presidential succession question offer a valuable opportunity to understand the regime’s preferences on striking a balance between stability and the urgent need for reform.