MIDDLE EAST

Governance systems in the Gulf and democracy

The concept of democracy has often been viewed in misleading revolutionary terms as so-called plans for the society’s redemption have been glorified by catchy, illusory and populist slogans. The ideals of democracy have at times been presented with the intent of igniting sentiments for radical change.

This revolutionary agenda behind promoting the democratic ideal tries to promote the false argument that political institutions in the Gulf are somehow unrelated to democratic sensibilities. It seems that the democratic ideal is being limited to the mechanism of parliamentary or presidential elections. However, the purpose of this system of governance is that there should be a level of responsiveness between the ruler and those he rules. In this respect, the mechanism is firmly established through the pledge of allegiance formulations and the ‘Shura’ system adopted in Gulf countries.

This revolutionary agenda behind promoting the democratic ideal tries to promote the false argument that political institutions in the Gulf are somehow unrelated to democratic sensibilities.

Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

The aim of democracy is to maintain justice and this can be achieved without engaging in superficial procedural trappings of so-called democracies. Monarchies in Gulf countries do seek justice and this is enshrined in their constitutional and governance regulations. Institutions which strengthen justice and fair governance work towards this end as these are based on royal decrees that stipulate that law is supreme without exception.

There have been several instances when common citizens have won cases records even show an incident when King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia had lost a case in 1927.

The revolutionary element has had an adverse impact on the political and philosophical ideals and has robbed them of their relevance.

Gulf countries have their own model which seeks to establish justice within a well-founded outlook and promotes the needs of the modern man who avails all his rights, respects his duties, enjoys his life and plans it according to all the pertinent laws. It is not a precondition to have prescribed means for achieving this state of fulfilment, but what’s important is to develop liberal political theories that aspire to build a better and more favourable reality.

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Fahad Shoqiran is a Saudi writer and researcher who also founded the Riyadh philosophers group. His writings have appeared in pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Alarabiya.net, among others. He also blogs on philosophies, cultures and arts. He tweets @shoqiran.

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Last Update: Friday, 20 October 2017 KSA 07:09 - GMT 04:09
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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