Between Ballots and Bullets: Algeria's Transition from Authoritarianism

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In the Arab world as elsewhere, authoritarian regimes have come under pressure for change. As yet, however, democracy has not taken root as an alternative form of governance. This book on Algeria looks at both the erosion of the authoritarian model and the difficulties of making a transition to democracy. Within the past decade, Algeria experienced one of the most promising experiments of opening up the political system and allowing a remarkable degree of freedom. That initial effort failed, however, when ...

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Overview

In the Arab world as elsewhere, authoritarian regimes have come under pressure for change. As yet, however, democracy has not taken root as an alternative form of governance. This book on Algeria looks at both the erosion of the authoritarian model and the difficulties of making a transition to democracy. Within the past decade, Algeria experienced one of the most promising experiments of opening up the political system and allowing a remarkable degree of freedom. That initial effort failed, however, when elections were won by an Islamist party that was unacceptable to the military, and it was followed by an explosion of political violence that in recent years has cost at least 75,000 lives. Despite this deep crisis there are reasons to believe that Algeria may emerge from its turmoil with a consensus on the need to respect pluralism and to accept the basic rules of democratic politics.

Blending theoretical insights with an analysis of the Algerian case, this book demonstrates that democratization is likely to be a difficult process in the Middle East, but that the prospects for eventual success are not as gloomy as often asserted by those who see an incompatibility between democracy and Islam.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Of the several works that have sought to shed light on the... conflict plaguing Algeria since 1992, Quandt's is... the clearest, the best balanced, and best written.... Quandt's arguments, the result of significant and thoughtful research, are constructed with great rationality and persuasiveness and are laid out with refreshing clarity." —John Ruedy, Georgetown University, Middle East Journal, 4/1/2001

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815773023
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Pages: 199
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

William B. Quandt is Edward R. Stettinius Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and was formerly a senior fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution. During the Nixon and Carter years, he served on the staff of the National Security Council and was deeply involved in the first Camp David negotiations, which led to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 The Legacy of Colonialism and Revolution 15
3 Pressures for Change 30
4 The Politics of Liberalization 42
5 Reversion or Interlude? 62
6 Analyzing Algeria's Political Development 83
7 Cultural Perspectives 91
8 Social and Economic Perspectives 108
9 Political Perspectives: Institutions and Choices 124
10 A Democratic Algeria? 146
Bibliography 165
Notes 173
Index 193
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