Khalil Gebara, longtime Global Integrity contributor and president of the Lebanese Organization for the Enhancement of Transparency, ponders governance in the Middle East. Accountability starts with elections, he argues.
Arab countries lack peaceful mechanisms to regulate the functioning of institutions. They have yet to embrace the principles of good governance and respect the red lines that confine politics to an institutional framework. Despite the efforts of Arab politicians and civil society organizations, the goal of combating corruption has not become a priority on the agenda of Arab regimes. This will only be accomplished when the relationship between citizens and the state is strengthened through popular participation in decision-making, the establishment of alliances between governments and legislative bodies on the one hand and the private sector and civil society organizations on the other, ensuring the independence of public institutions and inter-agency cooperation, and embarking on a balanced development plan. An important step toward achieving the first goal would be pressing governments to pass fairer and more democratic electoral laws that would allow citizens to elect representatives who are willing to hold governments accountable.
Khalil Gebara’s latest research for Global Integrity can be found here.
— Jonathan Werve