Electronic Democracy in the Middle East

Introduction

Information technology has revolutionized the way the world operates and as a result, the world is very fast-paced and characterized by huge changes that were probably never envisaged or imagined before (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2010). These changes have been felt in most aspects of life, including on the social, political and economic fronts. Information technology has penetrated quickly in the social front with social networking sites taking the revolution to another level. Economically, information technology has also spread by revolutionizing the way business is done, say, through e-commerce and the likes. However, politically, the revolution has not been as quick as previously anticipated. In this regard, more is yet to be witnessed in terms of e-democracy because technology is known to improve democracy within states.

Technology is bound to revolutionize democracy because with it, comes concepts such as e-government, e-voting, e-lists, e parliament and the likes. Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) explain that: “E-Democracy represents the use of information and communication technologies and strategies by democratic actors within political and governance processes of local communities, nations and on the international stage” (p. 58). Actors in play, within the context of e-democracy, include elected officials, governments, political organizations and the likes because it is through their power that, citizen participation in democratic activities can be enhanced (Bucy and Gregson, 2001).

Many societies have been able to embrace the concept of e-democracy but other societies still lag behind in this regard. There are many reasons which have led to this observation, but the greatest reason is the demographic composition of various societies. An example is the restriction of faith by some societies to embrace this concept. For instance, there are certain societies in the world where people do not watch television; women do not drive and such like practices because the cultures of such societies do not approve of such practices. The transition into e-democracy is therefore very restricted in such societies but practically, most societies in the Middle East fit this profile. This is true because most countries are largely governed by religious laws and still, more are influenced by religious doctrines, not only in their political lives, but also in their social and economic ventures. As a result, there exists a huge dilemma in determining the impact e-democracy has in the Middle East. Moreover, many countries are yet to attain full democracy because autocratic rule is still strong in the region. This study focuses on democracy in the Middle East and considers the dynamics of the region (with regards to democracy and factors which affect it); this study establishes that, e-democracy is hard to approach in the Middle East. To understand this fact, this study undertakes a conceptual analysis of the current state of politics in the Middle East and explains the concept of e-democracy, to understand how it applies to the region. Later, the reasons for the poor adoption of e-democracy in the Middle East will be given and finally, a conclusion summarizing the key points of the study will be provided. However, it is important to first gain a conceptual analysis of e-democracy in the Middle East.

Conceptual Analysis

Contrary to popular belief, the people in the Middle East are often wary of the political intrigues that happen in their primary environments. This is because many people follow the intrigues behind prominent conflicts in the Middle East, such as the Iraq war, Israel-Arab war and such like conflicts. As a result of these conflicts, people in the Middle East are aware of the political happenings in their countries. However, these people do not enjoy the same democratic space other regions of the world enjoy. In other words, there is very little democratic space in the Middle East because their leaders still practice the will of the minority; meaning that the ruling class has a lot of power over the majority and normally, the wishes of the people are not respected in such countries (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010). In the Western world, democracies operate by letting the will of the majority prevail. As a result of the minimal democratic space, few people in the Middle East have confidence in their leaders and in this regard, many people find themselves on the collision course with their governments. For instance, in the election of local representatives, the government may at times appoint leaders to fill these posts (contrary to the wishes of the people); especially if they believe that the leaders to be appointed by the people will have a contrary view from the government.

There is therefore very little hope expressed by the Middle Eastern people towards their governments embracing democracy and to great extents, this development is seen as a barrier for Middle East to embrace the concept of e-democracy (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010). However, this fact should not be assumed to be the prevailing situation throughout all Middle Eastern countries since there are some Middle Eastern countries that have already (or are) embraced the concept of e-democracy. Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) explain that “For example, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan starts transforming into an e-Country since 1999, by implementing the services of the e-Government processes” (p. 59). With the e-democracy concept adopted, most sectors in Jordan have been developed in terms of electronic modernization and currently, the country enjoys improved and efficient services, especially with regards to its health and education sectors. From this understanding of e-democracy in Middle East, it is important to understand the scope of e-democracy and what it comprehensively entails.

E-Democracy

E democracy is centered on improving the transparency and delivery of government services to the common people (Conhaim, 2000, p. 5). The concept of e-democracy is close to the concept of e-government because e-government is also aimed at mobilizing peoples’ efforts to help the government realize its democratic goals. E-democracy works by combining the input of information technologies and synchronizing it with the activities of the government to provide the citizens with comprehensive services aimed at providing citizens with their basic services (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2010). Such initiatives have been made with the combination of internet services and government services. Such services are normally synchronized with internet services to enable every citizen have access to government services, but most importantly, it provides citizens with a chance to participate in government or civic activities.

E democracy is also perceived as a way to “electronic” the democratic infrastructure of the government and the most prominent way of implementing e-democracy is through the e-voting technique. E democracy introduces new features to how democratic activities are carried out, but more importantly, it introduces features of efficiency and reliance. For example, through the e-voting technique, features such as improved security, privacy, accuracy and mobility are introduced and comprehensively, these features make the e-voting process more efficient and reliable. Regarding other aspects of e-democracy, Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) demonstrate that “e-Democracy initiatives include e-Forums, e- Consultations, e-Referenda, e-Voting, and other forms of e- Participation” (p. 59). From this understanding, we establish that, e-democracy poses a lot of advantages over conventional models of democracy because in the past, democracy has been characterized by inefficiencies, heavy costs and a lot of democratic boundaries which curtail the citizen’s democratic space.

Another advantage e-democracy brings to the democratic processes of a given country is the transparency it introduces to democratic processes because it makes the access to information very easy. However, the adoption of e-democracy cannot be done if countries do not first adopt the conventional forms of e-democracy. This is true because e-democracy only seeks to improve what already exists. In other words, it improves the existing infrastructure by modernizing it. Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) explain that: “So, the e-Democracy systems must meet certain standards of security, data protection, secrecy, reliability, accuracy, efficiency, integrity, and equality” (p. 59). From this understanding, we can acknowledge that, e-democracy improves existing democratic infrastructures by introducing aspects such as secrecy, reliability, efficiency and the likes to democratic processes.

However, in implementing e-democracy, there are two aspects of the concept to be considered. The first is the aspect of real democracy and the second aspect is the concept of decoration democracy (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010, p. 59). Both concepts seek to introduce e-democracy (as they should), but their difference is evidenced in terms of the accuracy of the e-democracy concept. The real e-democracy concept implements the real vote of the people while the concept of decorative democracy does not consider the real vote of the people. For instance, under the concept of decorative democracy, a government may throw its weight behind a given candidate to limit the chances of another candidate winning an electoral seat and in this manner, the real votes of the people are not considered. Oftentimes, in countries where the concept of decorative democracy is applied, the will of the people to do right and the trust of the people in their government is normally quashed because preferred candidates are vetoed by certain officials or institutions of the government and therefore, they cannot compete for elective posts. In extreme situations, these individuals are threatened by the government and therefore, they do not have the opportunity to enjoy free and fair elections (Kakabadse and Kouzmin, 2003). On such occasions, the participation of such candidates is often of no importance.

The concept of decorative democracy is however contrary to the spirit of e-democracy because e-democracy encourages the concept of real democracy as opposed to decorative democracy. This fact therefore means that, the adoption of e-democracy does not automatically mean that, a country is democratic. Its success is therefore only dependent on how the concept is managed. In this regard, Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) explain that “However, the key point is to use the trust and truthness between the government and the people. This enhances the democratic process and it affects the concept of e-Democracy” (p. 60). Considering e-democracy is susceptible to several political intrigues of a country, the following subsection of this study is going to expose the unique prevailing attributes of the Middle East which make e-democracy a difficult concept to implement.

The unique Middle East

The Middle East is a unique region of the world because of many reasons. Firstly, religion is incorporated into almost all facets of life and Islamic doctrines affect the political, social and economic makeup of the society (to a significant degree). In other words, Islam is part of the daily life of the people and democratic processes are no exception. Various countries in the Middle East, such as Morocco and Egypt, share a very deep sense of religion and its influence has infiltrated the very core of the societies. Politically, the influence of religion can be evidenced by the fact that, the ability of the citizens to question what the government does, is not supported by the culture of the region. In fact, it is documented that, the culture of questioning anything in Middle East is not openly welcomed and this trend is religiously justified (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010).

Also, close to the infiltration of religion into the political, economic and social systems of the country, we can see that, in the Arab continent, there is a strong inclination of most political processes towards the guidelines different faiths pose. This fact obviously affects the political processes of the country considering many people vote for people they believe come from their faith as opposed to people who do not. In this regard, the democratic processes of the countries are flouted and e-democracy becomes a difficult concept to establish altogether. Qawasmeh and Owais (2010) affirm that “This fact forces many Middle East countries to assign a certain quota to certain faiths in order to make them presented in the democratic process” (p. 59).

This trend has been envisioned in Jordan where certain parliamentary seats are allocated according to the religious dominance of the population because in the Middle Eastern state, a certain quota of parliamentary seats is allocated to Christian representatives and another quota is allocated to the Chechen people. The same system is applied in Lebanon where certain elective seats are reserved for Christians while the rest is reserved for the Sunni and Shia Islamic groups. Not only are such divisions of vacancies done to parliamentary posts alone, the same is also observed in the division of military posts (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005).

Middle East is also unique to other regions of the world in the sense that, it has endured years of endless conflict with its neighbors such as Israel and therefore it has been unstable for a long time. Also, the oil enrichment of the region has brought a series of socio-economic changes, such as those envisioned in Dubai. These factors affect the political landscape of the region, but more importantly, it affects the democratic processes of the country. The influence of these political intrigues eventually surfaces, in the sense that, victims of certain political injustices are bound to overlook existing democratic processes so long as the view expressed is not sympathetic to theirs. For example, from the Israeli – Arabic conflict, victims of the wars are bound to support candidates who advocate for their plight (regardless of the existing democratic processes). Also, considering some Arabic countries have grown economically due to their oil exports, there have been rich ruling classes among the citizens who do not care much about existing democratic processes because they believe their economic situation has improved as a result and therefore democratic processes which contravene their interests may be thwarted along the way (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010, p. 60).

Finally, the Middle Eastern region is unique to other regions of the world, especially with regards to the adoption of e-democracy because of the global fight against terrorism (McGeough, 2011, p. 1). This concern stems from the fact that, it is feared that if democracy takes root in the Middle east region, radical Muslims are bound to take over power and this may dent a blow to the fight against terrorism. This is the same concern registered by the former president of Egypt, Hosin Mubarak, who claimed that, his exit may potentially open an opportunity for radical Muslims (and more specifically the Muslim brothers) to take over the leadership of the country. Though it is yet to be established if such concerns are sustainable, there is concern across the Middle Eastern region that an adoption of the concept of democracy is bound to provide an opportunity for radical Muslims to take over leadership. This concern is brought about by the fact that, in democracies across the globe, leaders often have to profess their faith before they can run for certain elective seats. For instance, in the western world (such as the UK and the US, which are also deemed the biggest democracies in the world), leaders have to profess their faith in Christianity to win certain elective seats. In the same regard, it is feared that, in the Arab world, leaders may have to be radical Muslims to gain acceptance in a democratic Middle East. Lebanon is no different because the ousting of its leader during the Lebanon – Syria war led to increased concerns over the safety of Israel. After all, the regime that took over was hell-bent to eliminate Israel.

There are also a lot of double standards in the Middle East emanating from the fight against terror and more specifically, the approach that the west is taking towards democracy in the Middle East (McGeough, 2011, p. 1). For instance, Algeria’s leader is perceived by the west as an ally in the fight against terrorism and therefore, not many western countries dare speak against the injustices or dictatorship tendencies the Algerian leader does (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 6). The recently ousted Hosni Mubarak also shared the same relationship with the West and therefore democracy took a backseat in the Egyptian nation for a long time. In both cases, democracy seems to be thwarted by other global interests in the Middle East and more specifically, security interests. If such circumstances prevail, dictatorship is bound to continue and democracy is not going to be entrenched at all. It is also needless to mention that e-democracy has very little prospects of flourishing in such conditions. Also, some of the factors hindering the adoption of e-democracy in the Middle East stem from the limitation of factors needed to make e-democracy a success. A common factor is internet penetration.

Internet Penetration

The Middle East is a region where internet penetration is still low when compared to other countries in other regions of the world. However, there is a growth in internet penetration throughout the Middle East; or at least in some countries like Jordan and Iraq where internet penetration growth is projected above the margins of 1000% (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010, p. 60). There are however certain countries in the larger Middle Eastern region where internet penetration is very low. In real sense, compared to other regions of the world, Middle East poses some of the lowest levels of internet penetration. This fact is evidenced by the heavy government influence regarding the penetration of internet services. Several countries in the Middle East have governments that control the access to the internet. Such countries are like Saudi Arabia and Syria. The level of internet penetration is therefore very low because most of these governments are conservative and believe that with the spread of the internet, the social fabric of the countries will disintegrate as a result. Often, the spread of Western ideas into these countries is cited as the major reason for the control of the internet and this move is further supported by religious justifications in the sense that, most of the content which is transmitted through the internet is against the ideals of Islam. Moreover, the involvement of the government does not only stop at the control of internet use; its long arms have also been noted in the control of conventional media sources like televisions. It is therefore no wonder that most Middle Eastern countries rely a lot on state televisions for their broadcasts and often, such media houses are compromised by the government, or tend to uphold government agendas (Bucy and Gregson, 2001).

These factors expose the rigidity of internet use in the Middle East because there are some companies that do not even offer online services as a result. From this understanding it is inevitable to acknowledge that, offering e-democracy services in the Middle East is a difficult task. Moreover, there are many other restrictions existing in Middle East, which hinder the spread of e-democracy. For instance, the concept of e-democracy cannot be embraced instantaneously; it needs time to perfect and therefore Middle East cannot attain such levels of gratification (with regards to the adoption of e-democracy instantaneously). The concept of e-democracy also needs the support of external partners but some countries in the Middle East have received negative press regarding censuring internet content and therefore many partners are disinterested in such countries (Qawasmeh and Owais, 2010, p. 60). Therefore, the introduction of e-democracy in the future becomes problematic in such a case. Furthermore, some countries are still very bureaucratic and may take a lot of time to eliminate their traditional ways of undertaking democracy to the electronic ways of doing so. Such kind of objection is normally noted in conservative governments which are very slow in embracing change.

The recent Middle Eastern uprising which has ousted leaders in Egypt and Tunisia is brought about by internet activities which are also at the core of how e-democracy operates. Internet penetration in Tunisia and Egypt (which have successfully managed to oust their leaders in this regard) is large to be attributed to the success of the revolution which is also currently causing more instability in certain Middle Eastern countries where the revolution has spread. Wael Ghonim is said to have started the revolution and his strong understanding of the internet and how it works made him mobilize a lot of people behind the call to oust the long-serving Egyptian leader (Leslie, 2011, p. 1). His instrumentalism in starting the revolution by starting the Facebook page which mobilized hundreds of people against Mubarak cannot be underestimated because through this means, hundreds of people were able to interact with one other in an unregulated environment thereby leading to the success of the Egyptian revolution.

There is also some sense of lack of confidence between the people of Middle East and their governments and this concept greatly undermines the efficiency of e-democracy. For instance, if the people have a negative attitude towards e-democracy or are locked in the mentality that, the government can never do anything for the people, they are not likely to use e-democracy as it should. The use of any new concept should therefore be approached with the right mind-frame for it to be of benefit to the people because if people approach the concept of e-democracy in a negative way, it cannot be used to its full potential. The existing mistrust and lack of confidence among the people of Middle East, with regards to the use of the e-democracy concept, is therefore a big hindrance to the utilization of e-democracy in this regard (because people will believe that, even if the concept is adopted, the government would still have its way and therefore, it would not change the prevailing situation). The government’s influence is therefore never to be disregarded in this context because its influence in democracy greatly determines the adoption of e-democracy. Such is the case evidenced with multiparty politics.

Multipart

Often democracy goes hand in hand with multiparty politics because both concepts stand for freedom. However, most countries in the Middle East are not yet fully democratic. Countries that have embraced the concept have however not done so in a complete manner because true democracy has not been entrenched in such societies. For instance, certain Middle Eastern states like Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia have been partially ruled militarily and therefore, multiparty politics has not taken root as it should be, because so far, political participation has majorly been centered on single parties (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 4). Most of these countries are yet to enjoy true democracy because the influence of a few individuals and institutions still curtail the spread of democracy.

For instance, in the state of Algeria, democracy received a significant blow when an attempt to integrate certain Islamic groups into mainstream politics was thwarted when the parliamentary elections were canceled in 1992 (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 4). Consequently, this led to a bloody civil war in the North African country. Since then, multiparty elections have not been strongly entrenched in Algeria and successive rulers still consolidate power along nondemocratic lines. With regards to the Algerian case, the Economist Intelligence Unit (2005) explains that “Abdelaziz Bouteflika, elected president in 1999 as the candidate of the military powers-that-be, has managed the considerable feat of outmaneuvering his politicized generals in securing re-election last year” (p. 10). In fact, in Algeria’s case, there are still a lot of concerns registered on whether the government is truly civilian or a military one.

Before the ousting of Hosni Mubarak from the Egyptian presidency, the prospects of democracy were very minimal because there was no strong opposition figure in the political landscape that could oust Mubarak. This scenario was evidenced because political movements were squashed by the Egyptian leader and it was projected that, he would win by a landslide victory in the elections to be held in the year 2011 (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 4). To maintain the one-party state, Egypt was accustomed to emergency laws that curtailed any form of protests and still, the bureaucratic procedures of forming a political party were very hectic and a lot of scrutinies was visible from the government’s side if an individual intended to start a political party. Moreover, the country’s media houses were effectively gagged and therefore not much information could trickle down to the public. Media freedom was a hard thing to come by in the Egyptian nation (Bucy and Gregson, 2001).

The resilience of the state structure of the Middle East should not be underestimated because most rulers are determined to ensure existing regimes are in power, no matter the costs. Though the recent uprising against Middle Eastern governments has seen the ousting of several leaders (majorly in North Africa), the resilience of some Middle Eastern leaders cannot be ignored and such is the case observed in Libya where its leader has stood strong, despite increased pressure to resign and military combats from NATO forces. The resilience of Gaddafi, the leader of Libya, is only an abstract concept of the extent to which Middle Eastern leaders can go to stay in power. Middle Eastern countries which have these political systems are strongly entrenched into autocratic leadership and dictatorship. Syria for example is no different from Libya in the sense that, its leaders have gone to great extents to guarantee their stay in power.

In Algeria, people often feel very alienated from the government and there has even been a term coined for this gap between the people and the government – “Hogra” (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 10). The term refers to the contempt people have for the government. Already, observers note that, the Algerian leader seems to practice a form of leadership where he believes he can be able to deliver economic reforms alongside peace. Such kinds of traits are closely similar to a dictator and reference has even been made from the Algerian leader to the recently ousted Tunisian leader who also practiced dictatorship (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 10).

Kuwait is also an example of a Middle Eastern country where democracy is frowned upon. For instance, political parties have been illegal for a long time and the country has for long been ruled by the Emir who is an independent leader of the country. Every governmental appointment has to be done with the Emir’s approval and therefore there is very little room for democracy to thrive. In the same regard, all appointments made by Emir are not necessarily from the electorate. In other words, the Emir is under no obligation to elect individuals from the elected majority; he can make appointments from his own pool of representatives and therefore, he does not need to observe any democratic processes (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 10).

As a result of the lack of democratic space in Kuwait, most elections have been excessively manipulated. Such is the case evidenced in the 2003 general elections where excessive manipulation was witnessed and the government has since had its way with regards to any issue it wants advanced. For instance the interests of the ruling class have strongly been a major interest in the running of the Kuwait government such that, all matters of national interest come second. For instance, with regards to the interests of the ruling class The Economist Intelligence Unit (2005) explains that “Given the vested interests in maintaining a leading Al Sabah role in the government, such a radical political departure is unlikely, even when family leadership passes to the younger generation” (p. 10). The future of democracy in this regard is greatly shrouded in the selfish interests of the ruling class and therefore prospects of e-democracy thriving in the Middle Eastern country are greatly low. Politics therefore greatly inhibit e-democracy implementation but almost equally, political oppression in the Middle East inhibits e-democracy in the same regard.

Political Oppression

Middle East has had a long history of political oppression over the last few decades. Many countries still have autocratic leaders and many regimes are still determined to hold on to power at whatever costs. Past decades have seen the imprisonment of political activists and even countries perceived to be somewhat democratic share this history. Such is the case in Egypt and Bahrain where there were many political fugitives in the 80s and 90s (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 14). A catalyst for this political oppression stems from a peer effect in the Muslim region where leaders source their legitimacy from the political intrigues (characterized by oppression) which happen in the Middle East. For instance, Bahrain has in the past derived its legitimacy from the political structures of Saudi Arabia which do not tolerate democracy (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 14). In fact, observers note that, it is very difficult to introduce the concept of democracy in some Middle Eastern countries such as Bahrain because allowing democracy would mean putting the ruling families in pre-eminence.

Iran is also an example of an Arabic state where democracy is difficult to entrench. Though certain institutions in the state are legitimately in power, there are a few others that interestingly amass a lot of power because of the religious influence in the nation. It is difficult for democracy to thrive in such circumstances because the nation further operates under the supreme Islamic jurisprudence where the president, his cabinet ministers and the government are subject to Islamic institutions (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 14). This situation greatly undermines democracy in the sense that, though the president is directly elected by the citizens and chooses his cabinet ministers as a result; his actions are subject to higher institutions that are unelected. In other words, democracy becomes subject to nondemocratic institutions. The concept of e-democracy cannot thrive under such circumstances because it will also be subject to nondemocratic institutions; thereby beating the entire sense of democracy in the first place. In this regard, a lot of power is vested in the supreme leader of Iran and evidently, his position is not a democratic one. The supreme leader is therefore in power because of religious legitimacy, but his influence stretches across major political, social and economic activities. The Economist Intelligence Unit (2005) explains that:

“Bolstering the position of the conservative clerical establishment (and the supreme leader) is the Guardian Council, a kind of super-charged upper parliamentary chamber, vetting laws for compliance with Islamic law and the constitution as well as candidates for public office” (p. 13).

Moreover, the Iranian judiciary is strongly under the dominance of conservative clerics who would give very little room for e-democracy to thrive, let alone democracy. Apart from the political inhibitions, socially, the ethnic difference in the Middle East also plays a significant role in the prevention of the adoption of e-democracy in the Middle East. The following subsection explains this inhibition.

Ethnicity

Ethnicity is also a major hindrance to the realization of democracy in the Middle East because ethnic fragmentation distorts the unity of the people in adopting democracy. Considering some Middle Eastern countries are ruled by certain families, ethnic groups which associate themselves with such families are highly likely to oppose democracy. Moreover such families have a long history of ruling such that, they are perceived as the only legitimate rulers of some countries. For instance, Bahrain has been ruled by a Sunni family for many decades and the dominant Shia group is unhappy with such a scenario (The Economist Intelligence Unit, 2005, p. 14). In the face of democracy, the minority Sunni group is likely to oppose any efforts of embracing democracy and more specifically, the government which shares this interest is likely to oppose such efforts because this would provide an opportunity to dethrone the ruling family.

The same Sunni – Shia ethnic division plays out in Iraq were since the reign of Saddam Hussein, there has been an immense concentration of power to specific Sunni clans. With regards to the outlook for future democratization, The Economist Intelligence Unit (2005) explains that:

“In the context of a Sunni Arab insurgency that continues to be fed by a sense of political dispossession by this formerly favored minority, and the lack of representative Sunni Arab figures within the government and legislative process, Iraq’s progress to a stable and genuinely pluralistic polity will be difficult” (p. 14).

Conclusion

The adoption of the concept of e-democracy is not an easy thing in Middle East. This is true because Middle East has its own unique problems which hinder the adoption of the concept. However, this study notes that, there are two types of e-democracy: real democracy and decorative democracy. With the kind of circumstances prevailing in the Middle East, it becomes increasingly difficult to embrace the concept of real democracy because firstly, there needs to be some sense of stability in the Middle Eastern region for such a concept to work. Specifically, the stabilization of the conflict between the Middle East and Israel ought to be done for the region to remain stable and for e-democracy to take root. With constant efforts to solve this conflict over the decades being unsuccessful, the adoption of e-democracy proves to be more difficult in the Middle East because some of the problems that affect the region (with regards to the Israel – Middle East conflict are deep-seated) and very difficult to resolve. This fact only goes to expose the difficulty of embracing the concept of e-democracy in the Middle Eastern region.

The difficulty in adapting e-democracy is further exposed because of the fact that, before e-democracy is truly attained, there ought to be a timeframe where people have applied real democracy before a sense of trust in the system is achieved to embrace democracy in entirety. Already, this study establishes that, real democracy is difficult to achieve in the first place. Moreover, before the concept of e-democracy is truly achieved, there need to be more efforts directed towards improving the confidence that, the Middle Eastern people have towards their governments. More participation therefore ought to be evidenced by the people (towards their government) so that, people can have more confidence in their government and feel like part of the decision-making structures of the government. Most importantly, the participation of everyone in the country including women ought to be improved for the people to get complete confidence in their governments. Unless these recommendations are implemented, there exist very minimal prospects of e-democracy working in the Middle East.

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