Varna, 29 May 2011 - “REVOLUTION DOESN’T MEAN DEMOCRACY,” A MIDDLE EAST EXPERT WARNS
The revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa will take time, effort and external support to mature into true democracies, an expert told the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Saturday.
“Revolution doesn’t mean democracy,” said Bichara Khader, professor at Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain. “The transition will be difficult, thorny and full of obstacles. This is when we need Europe, and the support of the West in general.”
The experience of Europe’s former Eastern bloc countries could be useful, the Palestinian-born professor told the Political Committee at the Assembly’s Spring Session in
A conference hosted by one of those countries could be useful in sharing their experience of transition to market-economy democracies, he said.
The most urgent issue is economic stability, the professor explained. A comparative analysis of revolutions has shown that “usually after a transition to democracy, the economic situation tends to worsen for at least three to four years,” he said.
This was due to a period of political uncertainty, he said. “And investors – or tourists - do not like instability. And this is not good news for the economy. That's why European help, European aid is very important at this particular juncture.”
Financial aid was only part of the solution, he said. “It’s not enough to think that you can consolidate a democracy just by handing over money.” It is more important to “help the Arab countries to create enterprises, attract investments, stabilise their societies, give hope to their young people,” he said.
“That is how the West can help the democratic transition in the Arab world, to benefit of those countries first, and then more generally to the benefit of
Some 250 parliamentarians from the 28 NATO member countries as well as delegates from associate countries and experts are meeting from Friday 27 May to Monday 30 May 2011, ahead of the annual session scheduled for October in