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July 6, 2022 4:02 pm

Democracy Weakens Strong Economy, Most Arabs Agree, According to New Survey

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

A teenage boy scavenging through garbage cans in the Lebanese capital Beirut. Photo: Reuters/Elisa Gestri

Citizens of several Arab countries have lost confidence in the ability of democratic rule to deliver economic stability, according to a new survey published by a Middle East research network.

The Arab Barometer — a project housed at Princeton University — found that more than half of the respondents in the countries surveyed for its latest report agreed with the statement that “the economy is weak under a democratic system.”

In every country surveyed, more than half also said they either agreed or strongly agreed that they are more concerned about the effectiveness of their government’s policies than they are about the nature of the regime they live under. A full 79 percent of Iraqi respondents said their main consideration was on whether government policy worked, irrespective of how that government came to power.

The figure for respondents in the Palestinian territories regarding the same question was 62 percent, among the lower ranking results of the 11 countries — Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan and Kuwait, along with the Palestinian territories — that were surveyed.

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The director of the Arab Barometer project remarked that the latest survey demonstrated “a growing realization that democracy is not a perfect form of government, and it won’t fix everything.”

“What we see across the region is people going hungry, people need bread, people are frustrated with the systems that they have,” Michael Robbins told the BBC.

The economic situation is seen as the most pressing challenge for seven countries and the Palestinian territories, ahead of corruption, instability, and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Only in two countries is the economic situation not seen as the most crucial issue — in Iraq, where it is corruption, and in war-torn Libya, where it is instability.

At least one in three people in every country surveyed agree with the statement that, over the past year, they ran out of food before they next had sufficient funds to purchase more.


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