The institutional impediments to democratization : elections and the army in postwar Lebanon and Iraq
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This thesis contends that consociationalism is the main impediment to democracy in postwar Lebanon and Iraq. It highlights how Lebanon’s corporate consociationalism and Iraq’s liberal consociationalism emerged and how both models embed sectarianism at the political and institutional levels which in turn hinders the route towards democratization efforts. By linking and bridging the gap between comparative politics, the consociational democratic theory, and the historical institutionalist approach, the thesis looks at the operations of two state institutions, the electoral system and the army, and their manipulation by political leaders. These institutions shape political actors’ strategies and interests as well as play an influential role in embedding the confessional political system and neopatrimonial networks that serve leaders’ privileges. Elections are important because, in principle, they guarantee democracy by achieving citizens’ effective participation and inclusion through voting, which maintains their political and civil rights and holds political leaders accountable. Examining the electoral system in postwar Lebanon and Iraq shows how this institution developed over the years with the deliberate choice and strategies of political actors. The thesis also examines the effect of the Lebanese and Iraqi army on democratic practices. Generally, the military safeguards democracy by maintaining a country’s sovereignty and preserving security, internal order and stability, and the rule of law, which can be distorted by violence. Moreover, civilian control and oversight of the military institution are essential in democracies. In this sense, elected politicians rather than military leaders control the army which cannot intervene in politics like in authoritarian regimes. This thesis, however, investigates how sectarian elites manipulate the military institution and entrench an elite-driven patronage system which weakens this institution and prohibits the formation of a strong national army that seeks to protect its citizens and land, thus impeding democratization prospects.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2023-06-29
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 29th June 2023
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