Lessons on Democracy from the Middle East


Tahrir Square, Egypt, 2011.

The Middle East is probably not the first region that springs to mind when one seeks to learn about democracy and democratisation. Yet, that was exactly what a delegation of DAP MPs did last year when they visited Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey.

We were not quite sure what to expect. Initially, the expedition was meant to be a study trip to Muslim-majority countries to learn about the diverse ways in which these societies cope with contemporary political, economic and social challenges, with particular regard to the role of Islam in these aspects.

The trips to Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey turned out to be rather fruitful as we had the opportunity to engage with key political leaders, such as former Turkish President Dr Abdullah Gül, President of the Tunisian Ennahdah Party Rached Ghannouchi, exiled Secretary-General of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt Mahmoud Hussein, former Egyptian Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, as well as various MPs and political apparatchiks.

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