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Islam, Islam politik ak Amerik

Arab Insight

Èske "Fraternite" ak Amerik posib?

khalil al-anani

"pa gen okenn chans pou kominike ak nenpòt ki peyi Etazini. administrasyon an toutotan Etazini kenbe opinyon li depi lontan nan Islam kòm yon danje reyèl, yon pwennvi ki mete Etazini nan menm bato ak ènmi Siyonis la. Nou pa gen okenn lide pre-ansent konsènan pèp Ameriken an oswa US la. sosyete ak òganizasyon sivik li yo ak think tanks li yo. Nou pa gen pwoblèm pou kominike ak pèp Ameriken an men pa gen okenn efò adekwat yo ap fè pou pote nou pi pre,” te di Dr. Issam al-Iryan, chèf depatman politik Frè Mizilman an nan yon entèvyou telefòn.
Pawòl Al-Iryan yo rezime opinyon Frè Mizilman yo sou pèp Ameriken an ak peyi Etazini.. gouvènman an. Lòt manm nan Frè Mizilman yo ta dakò, menm jan ak defen Hassan al-Banna, ki te fonde gwoup la nan 1928. Al- Banna te konsidere Lwès la sitou kòm yon senbòl pouri moral. Lòt Salafis - yon lekòl Islamik nan panse ki depann sou zansèt kòm modèl egzanplè - te pran menm pwennvi nan Etazini., men manke fleksibilite ideyolojik Frè Mizilman yo te adopte. Pandan ke Frè Mizilman yo kwè nan angaje Ameriken yo nan dyalòg sivil, lòt gwoup ekstremis pa wè okenn pwen nan dyalòg epi kenbe fòs sa a se sèl fason pou fè fas ak Etazini.

Islamism revisited

MAHA AZZAM

There is a political and security crisis surrounding what is referred to as Islamism, a crisis whose antecedents long precede 9/11. Over the past 25 years, there have been different emphases on how to explain and combat Islamism. Analysts and policymakers
in the 1980s and 1990s spoke of the root causes of Islamic militancy as being economic malaise and marginalization. More recently there has been a focus on political reform as a means of undermining the appeal of radicalism. Increasingly today, the ideological and religious aspects of Islamism need to be addressed because they have become features of a wider political and security debate. Whether in connection with Al-Qaeda terrorism, political reform in the Muslim world, the nuclear issue in Iran or areas of crisis such as Palestine or Lebanon, it has become commonplace to fi nd that ideology and religion are used by opposing parties as sources of legitimization, inspiration and enmity.
The situation is further complicated today by the growing antagonism towards and fear of Islam in the West because of terrorist attacks which in turn impinge on attitudes towards immigration, religion and culture. The boundaries of the umma or community of the faithful have stretched beyond Muslim states to European cities. The umma potentially exists wherever there are Muslim communities. The shared sense of belonging to a common faith increases in an environment where the sense of integration into the surrounding community is unclear and where discrimination may be apparent. The greater the rejection of the values of society,
whether in the West or even in a Muslim state, the greater the consolidation of the moral force of Islam as a cultural identity and value-system.
Following the bombings in London on 7 Jiyè 2005 it became more apparent that some young people were asserting religious commitment as a way of expressing ethnicity. The links between Muslims across the globe and their perception that Muslims are vulnerable have led many in very diff erent parts of the world to merge their own local predicaments into the wider Muslim one, having identifi ed culturally, either primarily or partially, with a broadly defi ned Islam.

Islam and Democracy

ITAC

If one reads the press or listens to commentators on international affairs, it is often said – and even more often implied but not said – that Islam is not compatible with democracy. In the nineties, Samuel Huntington set off an intellectual firestorm when he published The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, in which he presents his forecasts for the world – writ large. In the political realm, he notes that while Turkey and Pakistan might have some small claim to “democratic legitimacy” all other “… Muslim countries were overwhelmingly non-democratic: monarchies, one-party systems, military regimes, personal dictatorships or some combination of these, usually resting on a limited family, clan, or tribal base”. The premise on which his argument is founded is that they are not only ‘not like us’, they are actually opposed to our essential democratic values. He believes, as do others, that while the idea of Western democratization is being resisted in other parts of the world, the confrontation is most notable in those regions where Islam is the dominant faith.
The argument has also been made from the other side as well. An Iranian religious scholar, reflecting on an early twentieth-century constitutional crisis in his country, declared that Islam and democracy are not compatible because people are not equal and a legislative body is unnecessary because of the inclusive nature of Islamic religious law. A similar position was taken more recently by Ali Belhadj, an Algerian high school teacher, preacher and (in this context) leader of the FIS, when he declared “democracy was not an Islamic concept”. Perhaps the most dramatic statement to this effect was that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of the Sunni insurgents in Iraq who, when faced with the prospect of an election, denounced democracy as “an evil principle”.
But according to some Muslim scholars, democracy remains an important ideal in Islam, with the caveat that it is always subject to the religious law. The emphasis on the paramount place of the shari’a is an element of almost every Islamic comment on governance, moderate or extremist. Only if the ruler, who receives his authority from God, limits his actions to the “supervision of the administration of the shari’a” is he to be obeyed. If he does other than this, he is a non-believer and committed Muslims are to rebel against him. Herein lies the justification for much of the violence that has plagued the Muslim world in such struggles as that prevailing in Algeria during the 90s

Kilti politik Islamik, Demokrasi, ak Dwa Moun

Daniele. Pri

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes

in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government

officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next

ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, sepandan, is based primarily

on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies

of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention

that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,

can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country

specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help

us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the

countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the

connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,

demokrasi, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much

emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first

use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay

between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Kilti politik Islamik, Demokrasi, ak Dwa Moun

Daniele. Pri

It has been argued that Islam facilitates authoritarianism, contradicts the

values of Western societies, and significantly affects important political outcomes
in Muslim nations. Consequently, scholars, commentators, and government
officials frequently point to ‘‘Islamic fundamentalism’’ as the next
ideological threat to liberal democracies. This view, sepandan, is based primarily
on the analysis of texts, Islamic political theory, and ad hoc studies
of individual countries, which do not consider other factors. It is my contention
that the texts and traditions of Islam, like those of other religions,
can be used to support a variety of political systems and policies. Country
specific and descriptive studies do not help us to find patterns that will help
us explain the varying relationships between Islam and politics across the
countries of the Muslim world. Hence, a new approach to the study of the
connection between Islam and politics is called for.
I suggest, through rigorous evaluation of the relationship between Islam,
demokrasi, and human rights at the cross-national level, that too much
emphasis is being placed on the power of Islam as a political force. I first
use comparative case studies, which focus on factors relating to the interplay
between Islamic groups and regimes, economic influences, ethnic cleavages,

and societal development, to explain the variance in the influence of

Islam on politics across eight nations.

Political Islam in the Middle East

Èske Knudsen

This report provides an introduction to selected aspects of the phenomenon commonly

referred to as “political Islam”. The report gives special emphasis to the Middle East, in

particular the Levantine countries, and outlines two aspects of the Islamist movement that may

be considered polar opposites: democracy and political violence. In the third section the report

reviews some of the main theories used to explain the Islamic resurgence in the Middle East

(Figure 1). In brief, the report shows that Islam need not be incompatible with democracy and

that there is a tendency to neglect the fact that many Middle Eastern countries have been

engaged in a brutal suppression of Islamist movements, causing them, some argue, to take up

arms against the state, and more rarely, foreign countries. The use of political violence is

widespread in the Middle East, but is neither illogical nor irrational. In many cases even

Islamist groups known for their use of violence have been transformed into peaceful political

parties successfully contesting municipal and national elections. Nonetheless, the Islamist

revival in the Middle East remains in part unexplained despite a number of theories seeking to

account for its growth and popular appeal. In general, most theories hold that Islamism is a

reaction to relative deprivation, especially social inequality and political oppression. Alternative

theories seek the answer to the Islamist revival within the confines of religion itself and the

powerful, evocative potential of religious symbolism.

The conclusion argues in favour of moving beyond the “gloom and doom” approach that

portrays Islamism as an illegitimate political expression and a potential threat to the West (“Old

Islamism”), and of a more nuanced understanding of the current democratisation of the Islamist

movement that is now taking place throughout the Middle East (“New Islamism”). This

importance of understanding the ideological roots of the “New Islamism” is foregrounded

along with the need for thorough first-hand knowledge of Islamist movements and their

adherents. As social movements, its is argued that more emphasis needs to be placed on

understanding the ways in which they have been capable of harnessing the aspirations not only

of the poorer sections of society but also of the middle class.

ESTRATEJI POU ANGAJE ISLAM POLITIK

SHADI HAMID

AMANDA KADLEC

Islam politik se sèl fòs politik ki pi aktif nan Mwayen Oryan jodi a. Avni li se intimman lye ak sa ki nan rejyon an. Si Etazini ak Inyon Ewopeyen an pran angajman pou sipòte refòm politik nan rejyon an, yo pral bezwen elabore beton, estrateji koyeran pou angaje gwoup islamis yo. Poutan, Etazini. jeneralman pa t vle louvri yon dyalòg ak mouvman sa yo. Menm jan an tou, Angajman Inyon Ewopeyen ak Islamis yo te eksepsyon, pa règ la. Kote kontak ki ba-nivo egziste, yo sitou sèvi nan objektif pou rasanble enfòmasyon, pa objektif estratejik yo. Etazini an. ak Inyon Ewopeyen gen yon kantite pwogram ki adrese devlopman ekonomik ak politik nan rejyon an - pami yo Inisyativ Patenarya Mwayen Oryan an. (MEPI), Millennium Challenge Corporation la (MCC), Inyon pou Mediterane a, ak politik Ewopeyen an katye (ENP) – Men, yo pa gen anyen pou di sou fason defi opozisyon politik islamis la anfòm nan objektif rejyonal ki pi laj yo. Etazini. ak asistans ak pwogram demokrasi Inyon Ewopeyen yo dirije prèske antyèman swa gouvènman otoritè tèt yo oswa gwoup eksklizyon sosyete sivil ak sipò minimòm nan pwòp sosyete yo..
Lè a se mi pou yon reevalyasyon politik aktyèl yo. Depi atak teworis yo nan mwa septanm nan 11, 2001, sipòte demokrasi Mwayen Oryan an te pran yon pi gwo enpòtans pou mizisyen politik Lwès yo, ki wè yon lyen ant mank demokrasi ak vyolans politik. Pi gwo atansyon yo te konsakre nan konpreyansyon varyasyon yo nan Islam politik. Nouvo administrasyon Ameriken an pi ouvè pou elaji kominikasyon ak mond Mizilman an. Pandan se tan, a vas majorite nan òganizasyon islamis endikap - ki gen ladan Frè Mizilman an nan peyi Lejip, Fwon Aksyon Islamik lòt bò larivyè Jouden an (IAF), Pati Jistis ak Devlopman Mawòk la (PJD), Mouvman Konstitisyonèl Islamik Kowet, ak Yemeni Islah Party - te de pli zan pli fè sipò pou refòm politik ak demokrasi yon eleman santral nan platfòm politik yo.. An plis, anpil moun te siyale gwo enterè nan ouvèti dyalòg ak U.S. ak gouvènman Inyon Ewopeyen yo.
Avni relasyon ant nasyon oksidantal yo ak Mwayen Oryan an ka detèmine pa degre ansyen an angaje pati islamis san vyolans yo nan yon dyalòg laj sou enterè ak objektif pataje.. Te gen yon pwopagasyon resan etid sou angajman ak islamis yo, men kèk klèman adrese sa li ta ka enplike nan pratik. Kòm Zoe Nautre, vizite parèy nan Konsèy Alman an sou Relasyon Etranje, mete li, "Inyon Ewopeyen an ap panse sou angajman men li pa vrèman konnen ki jan."1 Nan espwa nan klarifye diskisyon an, nou fè distenksyon ant twa nivo "angajman,” yo chak ak diferan mwayen ak fen: kontak ba nivo, dyalòg estratejik, ak patenarya.

Islamist parties : Three kinds of movements

Tamara Cofman

Between 1991 epi 2001, the world of political Islam became significantly more diverse. Jodi a, the term “Islamist”—used to describe a political perspective centrally informed by a set of religious interpretations and commitments—can be applied to such a wide array of groups as to be almost meaningless. It encompasses everyone from the terrorists who flew planes into the World Trade Center to peacefully elected legislators in Kuwait who have voted in favor of women’s suffrage.
Nonetheless, the prominence of Islamist movements—legal and illegal, violent and peaceful—in the ranks of political oppositions across the Arab world makes the necessity of drawing relevant distinctions obvious. The religious discourse of the Islamists is now unavoidably central to Arab politics. Conventional policy discussions label Islamists either “moderate” or “radical,” generally categorizing them according to two rather loose and unhelpful criteria. The first is violence: Radicals use it and moderates do not. This begs the question of how to classify groups that do not themselves engage in violence but who condone, justify, or even actively support the violence of others. A second, only somewhat more restrictive criterion is whether the groups or individuals in question
accept the rules of the democratic electoral game. Popular sovereignty is no small concession for traditional Islamists, many of whom reject democratically elected governments as usurpers of God’s sovereignty.
Yet commitment to the procedural rules of democratic elections is not the same as commitment to democratic politics or governance.

Pati Islamis yo : A boon or a bane for democracy?

Amr Hamzawy

Natan J.. Brown

What role do Islamist movements play in Arab politics? With their popular messages and broad followings within Arab societies, would their incorporation as normal political actors be a boon for democratization or democracy’s bane? For too long, we have tried to answer such questions solely by speculating about the true intentions of these movements and their leaders. Islamist political movements in the Arab world are increasingly asked—both by outside observers and by members of their own societies—about their true intentions.
But to hear them tell it, leaders of mainstream Arab Islamist movements are not the problem. They see themselves as democrats in nondemocratic lands, firmly committed to clean and fair electoral processes, whatever outcomes these may bring. It is rulers and regimes that should be pressed to commit to democracy, say the Islamists, not their oppositions. We need not take such Islamist leaders at their word. Vreman vre, we should realize that there is only so much that any of their words can do to answer the question of the relationship between these movements and the prospects for democracy.
While their words are increasingly numerous (Islamist movements tend to be quite loquacious) and their answers about democracy increasingly specific, their ability to resolve all ambiguities is limited. Premye, as long as they are out of power—as most of them are, and are likely to remain for some time—they will never fully prove themselves. Many Islamist leaders themselves probably do not know how they would act were they to come to power.

ISLAMIST MOVEMENTS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN THE ARAB WORLD: Exploring the Gray Zones

Natan J.. Brown, Amr Hamzawy,

Marina Ottaway

During the last decade, Islamist movements have established themselves as major political players in the Middle East. Together with the governments, Islamist movements, moderate as well as radical, will determine how the politics of the region unfold in the foreseeable future. Th ey have shown the ability not only to craft messages with widespread popular appeal but also, and most importantly, to create organizations with genuine social bases and develop coherent political strategies. Other parties,
by and large, have failed on all accounts.
Th e public in the West and, an patikilye, the United States, has only become aware of the importance of Islamist movements after dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of President Anwar al-Sadat in Egypt. Attention has been far more sustained since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Kòm yon rezilta, Islamist movements are widely regarded as dangerous and hostile. While such a characterization is accurate regarding organizations at the radical end of the Islamist spectrum, which are dangerous because of their willingness to resort to indiscriminate violence in pursuing their goals, it is not an accurate characterization of the many groups that have renounced or avoided violence. Because terrorist organizations pose an immediate
threat, sepandan, policy makers in all countries have paid disproportionate attention to the violent organizations.
It is the mainstream Islamist organizations, not the radical ones, that will have the greatest impact on the future political evolution of the Middle East. Th e radicals’ grandiose goals of re-establishing a caliphate uniting the entire Arab world, or even of imposing on individual Arab countries laws and social customs inspired by a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam are simply too far removed from today’s reality to be realized. Th is does not mean that terrorist groups are not dangerous—they could cause great loss of life even in the pursuit of impossible goals—but that they are unlikely to change the face of the Middle East. Mainstream Islamist organizations are generally a diff erent matter. Th ey already have had a powerful impact on social customs in many countries, halting and reversing secularist trends and changing the way many Arabs dress and behave. And their immediate political goal, to become a powerful force by participating in the normal politics of their country, is not an impossible one. It is already being realized in countries such as Morocco, Lòt bò larivyè Jouden, and even Egypt, which still bans all Islamist political organizations but now has eighty-eight Muslim Brothers in the Parliament. Politik, not violence, is what gives mainstream Islamists their infl uence.

RADICALIZASYON ISLAMIS

PREFAS
RICHARD YOUNGS
MICHAEL EMERSON

Pwoblèm ki gen rapò ak Islam politik kontinye prezante defi nan politik etranje Ewopeyen an nan Mwayen Oryan an ak Afrik Dinò (MENA). Kòm politik Inyon Ewopeyen an te chache vini ak defi sa yo pandan dènye dekad la oswa konsa Islam politik li menm te evolye.. Ekspè yo montre konpleksite k ap grandi ak varyete tandans nan Islam politik la. Gen kèk òganizasyon islamis yo ranfòse angajman yo nan nòm demokratik ak angaje totalman nan lapè, politik nasyonal prensipal yo. Gen lòt ki rete marye ak mwayen vyolan. Epi gen lòt ankò ki te derive nan yon fòm Islamis ki pi trankil, degaje nan aktivite politik. Islam politik nan rejyon MENA pa prezante okenn tandans inifòm pou mizisyen politik Ewopeyen yo. Deba analitik te grandi sou konsèp 'radikalizasyon'. Sa a nan vire te anjandre rechèch sou faktè sa yo ki mennen 'de-radikalizasyon', ak kontrèman, 're-radikalizasyon'. Anpil nan konpleksite a soti nan opinyon lajman ke tout twa fenomèn sa yo ap fèt an menm tan.. Menm kondisyon yo tèt yo yo konteste. Li te souvan fè remake ke dikotomi modere-radikal la echwe totalman pou kaptire nuans yo nan tandans nan Islam politik.. Gen kèk analis tou plenyen ke pale sou 'radikalism' se ideolojikman chaje. Nan nivo tèminoloji, nou konprann radikalizasyon dwe asosye ak ekstrèm, men opinyon yo diferan sou santralite nan kontni relijye-fondamentalis kont li yo politik, epi si wi ou non volonte pou fè vyolans enplike oswa ou pa.

Diferans sa yo reflete nan opinyon yo te genyen nan Islamis yo tèt yo, osi byen ke nan pèsepsyon yo nan etranje yo.

ISLAM, ISLAMISTS, AND THE ELECTORAL PRINCIPLE I N THE MIDDLE EAST

James Piscatori

For an idea whose time has supposedly come, ÒdemocracyÓ masks an astonishing

number of unanswered questions and, in the Muslim world, has generated

a remarkable amount of heat. Is it a culturally specific term, reflecting Western

European experiences over several centuries? Do non-Western societies possess

their own standards of participation and accountabilityÑand indeed their own

rhythms of developmentÑwhich command attention, if not respect? Does Islam,

with its emphasis on scriptural authority and the centrality of sacred law, allow

for flexible politics and participatory government?

The answers to these questions form part of a narrative and counter-narrative

that themselves are an integral part of a contested discourse. The larger story

concerns whether or not ÒIslamÓ constitutes a threat to the West, and the supplementary

story involves IslamÕs compatibility with democracy. The intellectual

baggage, to change the metaphor, is scarcely neutral. The discussion itself has

become acutely politicised, caught in the related controversies over Orientalism,

the exceptionalism of the Middle East in particular and the Muslim world in general,

and the modernism of religious ÒfundamentalistÓ movements.

Islam politik ak politik etranjè Ewopeyen an

ISLAM POLITIK AK POLITIK PWOZINAT Ewopeyen an

MICHAEL EMERSON

RICHARD YOUNGS

Depi 2001 ak evènman entènasyonal yo ki te swiv nati a nan relasyon ki genyen ant Lwès la ak Islam politik te vin tounen yon pwoblèm defini pou politik etranjè.. Nan dènye ane yo, yon kantite lajan konsiderab nan rechèch ak analiz yo te eskize sou pwoblèm nan nan Islam politik. Sa a te ede korije kèk nan sipozisyon senplist ak alarmis yo te deja te fèt nan Lwès la sou nati valè ak entansyon Islamis yo.. Paralèl ak sa a, Inyon Ewopeyen an (Inyon Ewopeyen) te devlope yon kantite inisyativ politik prensipalman politik Ewopeyen an katye(ENP) ki nan prensip angaje nan dyalòg ak pi fon angajman tout(ki pa vyolan) aktè politik ak òganizasyon sosyete sivil nan peyi Arab yo. Men, anpil analis ak mizisyen politik kounye a plenyen de yon sèten trofe nan tou de deba konseptyèl ak devlopman politik. Li te etabli ke Islam politik se yon peyizaj k ap chanje, pwofondman afekte pa yon seri sikonstans, men deba souvan sanble yo te kole sou kesyon an senplist nan 'Èske Islamis yo demokratik?' Anpil analis endepandan te defann angajman ak islamis yo, men rapwòchman aktyèl ant gouvènman Lwès yo ak òganizasyon islamis yo rete limite .

Frè Mizilman Modere a

Robert S.. Leiken

Steven Brooke

Frè Mizilman an se pi ansyen nan mond lan, pi gwo, ak òganizasyon islamis ki pi enfliyan. Li se tou ki pi kontwovèsyal la,
kondane pa tou de opinyon konvansyonèl nan Lwès la ak opinyon radikal nan Mwayen Oryan an. Kòmantatè Ameriken yo te rele Frè Mizilman yo "Islamis radikal" ak "yon eleman enpòtan nan fòs atak lènmi an. … pwofondman ostil ak Etazini yo." Ayman al-Zawahiri Al Qaeda a pase yo nan betiz pou "lur[ing] dè milye de jèn gason Mizilman nan liy pou eleksyon yo … olye pou yo antre nan liy jiad yo. Jihadists deteste Frè Mizilman yo (li te ye nan arab kòm al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) pou rejte jiad mondyal ak anbrase demokrasi. Pozisyon sa yo sanble fè yo modere, bagay la anpil nan Etazini, kout sou alye nan mond Mizilman an, chache.
Men, Ikhwan la tou atake U.S. politik etranjè, espesyalman sipò Washington pou pèp Izrayèl la, ak kesyon ki rete sou angajman aktyèl li nan pwosesis demokratik la. Pandan ane ki sot pase a, nou te rankontre ak plizyè douzèn lidè Fratènite ak aktivis nan peyi Lejip, Lafrans, Lòt bò larivyè Jouden, Espay, Siri,Tinizi, ak Wayòm Ini a.

The Management of Islamic Activism: Salafis, The Muslim Brotherhood, and State Power in Jordan

Faisal Ghori

In his first book, The Management of Islamic Activism, Quintan Wiktorowicz examines the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis through the lens of social movement theory. Unlike some political scientists who dismiss Islamic movements because of their informal networks, Wiktorowicz contends that social movement theory is an apt framework through which Islamic movements can be examined and studied. In this regard, his work leads the field. Yet for all its promise, this book largely fails to deliver.
The book is divided into four primary sections, through which he tries to construct his conclusion: Jordanian political liberalization has occurred because of structural necessities, not because of its commitment to democratization. An plis, the state has been masterful in what he dubs the “management of collective action, (p. 3) which has, for all practical purposes, stifled any real opposition. While his conclusion is certainly tenable, given his extensive fieldwork, the book is poorly organized and much of the evidence examined earlier in the work leaves many questions unanswered.

What Leads Voters to Support the Opposition under Authoritarianism ?

Michael D.H. Robbins

Elections have become commonplace in most authoritarian states. While this may seem to be a contradiction in terms, in reality elections play an important role in these regimes. While elections for positions of real power tend to be non-competitive, many
elections—including those for seemingly toothless parliaments—can be strongly contested.
The existing literature has focused on the role that elections play in supporting the regime. For example, they can help let off steam, help the regime take the temperature of society, or can be used to help a dominant party know which individuals it should promote (Schedler 2002; Blaydes 2006). Poutan, while the literature has focused on the supply-side of elections in authoritarian states, there are relatively few systematic studies of voter behavior in these elections (see Lust-Okar 2006 for an exception). Rather, most analyses have argued that patronage politics are the norm in these societies and that ordinary citizens tend to be very cynical about these exercises given that they cannot bring any real change (Kassem 2004; Desposato 2001; Zaki 1995). While the majority of voters in authoritarian systems may behave in this manner, not all do. In fact, at times, even the majority vote against the regime leading to
significant changes as has occurred recently in Kenya, the Ukraine and Zimbabwe. Poutan, even in cases where opposition voters make up a much smaller percentage of voters, it is important to understand who these voters are and what leads them to vote against the
rejim.