ORIENT II 2020: Reforms and Elections in the Middle East and North Africa

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Dear ORIENT readers,

These are turbulent times globally, but no less in the countries of the Near and Middle East. This issue was obviously planned before events surrounding the new coronavirus became the central issue for the months to come. we hope, nevertheless, that the articles on reforms and elections across the region will be of interest to you.

Because of the virus, all protest actions have been cancelled, which gives a certain relief to the autocratic regimes in the region. But the underlying problems remain unresolved. Iran is the most affected country and will face enormous difficulties in the months to come. As tourism has been cut down to zero this will also have strong economic consequences for countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Turkey if the crisis carries on into the summer.

In this issue, Ezzeddine Abdelmoula analyses the state of Tunisia’s political reforms, before Jessica Ayesha Northey and Latefa Narriman Guemar take a closer look at Algeria’s recent wave of protests and its repercussions. Katharina Konarek subsequently shifts the view to Israel, analysing last year’s elections and the role the Arab minority played in them. Ellinor Zeino takes us to Afghanistan with a thorough dissection of the interplay between elections and the peace process with the Taliban. last but not least, Ömer Faruk Gençkaya and Pinar Dikmen provide insights on election security in Turkey.

I hope that the current issue provides you with valuable perspectives on topics relating to reforms and elections in the Near and Middle East. we wish you all the best, but most importantly hope that you and your loved ones are safe and in good health.

Dr. Gunter Mulack
Director of the German Orient-Institute