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Constitutional Reform, Legislatures’ Powers, and Democracy’s Prospects in the Middle East and North Africa

Constitutional Reform, Legislatures’ Powers, and Democracy’s Prospects in the Middle East and North Africa

By M. Steven Fish and Katherine Michel
Working Paper, UC Berkeley

Abstract: The fate of democratization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) depends vitally on constitutional provisions that define the powers of national legislatures. Where the legislature is free from executive appointees and enjoys sole custody of the right to make laws, the probability of escaping autocracy is markedly higher than were the legislature contains executive appointees and shares lawmaking authority with the executive. Our analyses show how constitutional reform may reshape the prospects for democratic attainment in MENA.