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The electoral system in a given country determines the number of possible political parties in that country. The voters in a given country always have their own interests to pursue. These interests may be guided by the experience, exposure, cultural and religious factors, economic and security reasons. Voters end up forming social groups with common preferences, parties may also be formed from these groups. Voters choose the most appropriate means of obtaining what they want by forming cleavages. The political environment in Israel has been dynamic just as in any other place in the world. These changes are clear based on the analysis made before and after implementation of the electoral reforms in the year 1996. Israel has representative electoral system where voters elect a representative after every four years of work in the Knesset.
Israel is made up of many sub-divisions among its citizens and the political parties and voting trends seem to reflect these differences. Ethnicity and religion played a major role in politics and resulted in formation of two main political parties: Likud and Labour party. These parties have grown over the time and especially after the 1996 political reforms. Contrary to what happens in Western industrialized community where voting behavior is predominantly based on class and party relationship, in Israel, religiosity and ethnicity have immense influence on voting behavior. The Israel-Arab conflict is viewed as a possible cause of people having greater differences in their opinions regarding the peace process in comparison with the existing class differences. A clear evidence of this exists between the Hawks, the right-wing political parties, and the Doves, the left-wing political parties.
As observed the size of the parties formed on the basis of ethnicity and religion increased in size upon the development of a new political system. This is because the voters had a greater chance to experess their political orientation based on their social diversity by electing prime minister straightforwardly who then formed the governing coalition.
Development and Problems of Palestinian Authority in Terms of its Internal Cleavages
Palestine is characterized by distinct internal cleavages. There has existed a war between the Fatah and Hamas. The agreement to establish a government by the Fatah and Hamas in February 2007 was followed by an intensive war in June same year. The conflicts started from President Abbas dissolving the cabinet and failing to approve ratification of a new one as demanded by Hamas. The result of this disagreement was West Bank being under the leadership of President Abbas and Fayyard government while Gaza strip was ruled by Hamas.
Externally Palestine is in constant conflicts with Israel and therefore the political ideologies advocated by the political parties are tied to bring about peace. Parties like Fatah believe in a two-state agreement to bring about peace while Hamas which took leadership in 2006 believes in armed struggle to obtain independence.
Palestinian electoral system consists of both proportional representation and majority system. It’s is divided into 16 electoral regions, 11 in the West bank and 5 in Gaza strip. Parliamentary seats allocated to each region depend on the population size. Six of the total seats are reserved for Christians being considered as the quota for their representation.
For the greater period in the past Fatah was in leadership and perpetrated corruption and provided an environment that was not conducive for prosperity; under such circumstances Hamas did not recognize the Palestine Authority. However, eventually Hamas managed to take power in the parliament and local authority. Hamas’s major mission was to bring reforms to the country, especially in terms of corruption eradication as well as other social and political reforms. The Hamas’ rule was not without challenges; the leadership was contested severely leading to divisions within the country. The conflicts were between the Hamas and Fatah supporters. This fact weakened the development of the government and even the economic growth of the country.
Social Origins of Dictatorship in Egypt before the Revolution
The political environment in Egypt since 1981 was not favorable to its citizens with the leadership of Mubarak. There has always been the need to bring an end to the emergency laws that obscured political expression. The eruption of protests can be viewed as a reflection of lack of cohesion in the political ideology and social expectations. In the revolt, struggle to get a civic government, doing away with political woes, marginality and high level of spontaneous seems to benefit in a great way. Therefore the revolution in Egypt can be associated with a new era of leadership that introduces unmatched historical groupings of complex forces and different ideologies. The quest of a new regime triggered labour movements including the appearance of the labour unions. The movements did not exhaust the players who formed part of the movements. These players included feminists and social-media organization leftists among others.
The majority of the citizens are Muslims while the minorities such as the Christians have always experienced difficulty in their relationship with the Muslim. The government structure was such that dictatorship would be the obvious outcome. The governance was highly centralized and the national policy controlled the local council which had no power. This resulted in neglect of some people who lived in different parts of the country such as Mounib. Residents from such a place did not have the political voice to air out their needs or to participate in the government politics. Upon getting into power in 1981, president Mubarak introduced the emergency law. This action created a leeway for dictatorship through the rights given to the government agents such as political and constitutional rights were denied to the civilians. The law also prevented all anti-government activities in politics such as street demonstration except many others.
The quest for wealth by the President also made him to exercise dictatorship to get more and protect the already acquired wealth. He is, for example, believed to be having billions of dollars outside the country. He is believed to have corrupted the government. He has served for the longest period and could not accept to lose the elections. Elections were characterized by corruption, manipulation of results and intimidation not to vote. The accumulation of power seems to make people hopeless, especially when the plans of him giving the authority to his son are made. This basically shows the social flows on the part of the leaders that have led to the accumulation of dictatorship power.
The Main Characteristics of the Saudi Arabia Political System in Terms of its Institutional Power Structure
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy with a king as the head of the state and head the council of ministers. There is however law that restricts him from enacting laws as provided by the Islamic law. But, he gives royal decrees in agreement with sharia. Besides, he has the responsibility of renewing agreements with tribes due to the tribal composition of the Saudi state. The decision making with regard to politics is personalized making links with the royal family more valuable than the status in office. The decision making involves a small group made up of 15 people and the decision about the future of Saudi is in their hands. There has been constant opposition to the royal family where people demand political reforms and also restriction of the royal expenditures.
Succession remains a mystery to the public: it is an internal royal family conduct which remains unanimous in the public. In most cases the successors are sons of the founder of Saudi Abd al-Aziz, the older son becomes a king and the second one the prince. The basic law highlights the basis on which the kingdom was established. It, however, tends to be like in any other constitution stating that, Koran and Prophet’s Sunnah are the Saudi’s constitution based on the fact that Saudi is an Islamic and Arab state. Church is not separated from the state and there little differences in how they are run. Monarchy remains the major source of power, while the princes and the king have greater power with respect to taking actions. Though the prince may get advice from technocrats and strong business families, he has to observe the Islamic law in addition to other Saudi traditions. The laws are proposed by the king and then approved by the majority decision in the council of ministers. The cabinet reflects the distribution of power between the Saudi technocrats and royal family. Senior members of the royal family are in charge of Key ministries.
The governance cannot be alienated from the church and therefore the Islamic governance is founded on similar foundations like those of the church. The bases are categorized as moral, constitutional and ideological factors.
The Main Social Cleavages in Syria and their Impact on Political Instability and Unrest in the Country
Syria is an Arab republic in Middle East. It has parliamentary political system but the authoritarian regime seems to stand above the leadership of President Bashar Al-Assad and Baath as the ruling party. Recently Syria has also joined the list of the Arab countries that have experienced political unrest of the revolution which started in Tunisia in the year 2011. With the dictatorship kind of regime opposition has been strongly suppressed and the human rights and free elections are no more witnessed.
The cleavages in Syria date back to the mid-1980s there was a state of instability in the Syrian society. The political, social and economical circumstances that prevailed before this period led to establishment of a divided society on the basis of vertical cleavages along ethnic lines and religious beliefs and also horizontal cleavages along the class line and social-economic status. Those who perceived themselves to be minor segregated themselves into their own groupings. This resulted in the formation of distinct segregation such as rural and urban dwellers, tenants and landlord among other minor groups. Members of different structural segments of the society perceive each others as socially different. This can be observed in the different aspects of life such as food, clothing and customs. For example, it is uncommon to see intermarriage between different towns, tribes and villages. This therefore creates a very weak basis of political stability and national unity. To relax the situation Bashar al-Asad marries a Sunni wife to set precedence in the societal tradition.
The division on the basis of religion is stronger and particularly noticeable between Alawites and Sunnis. Matters of personal status are to a greater extent governed by the various faiths. Discrimination is observed where by the access to sensitive positions in the forces and security is restricted only to the Alawites. It is therefore clear that the religious divides contributes to kinship and regional divides. The society divisions on basis of religion are such that Alawites, Ismailis and Druze occupy a region that forms the majority population and hence possess greater influence on the political status as far as democracy allows.
The rule of law does not operate smoothly. Rule making, enforcement and administration of justice rest on the regime and the president. An independent judicial system does not exist and therefore creates room for obscuring justice. This enables the forces in charge of ensuring security to transgress the law. Similarly, lack of independent judiciary creates room for rampant corruption and selective prosecution. This creates a climate whereby political unrests are expected any time.
Transformation of Party System in Lebanon
The Lebanese war was with many facets that lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian deaths and/or fatalities. An additional one million people estimated at a quarter of the population were wounded, and to date a 350,000 people remain displaced. In 1860 foreign parties changed sociopolitical wars into religious conflicts. A war resulted in the death of more than 10,000 people. In 1918 the Ottoman rule in Syria and Lebanon ended. In August 1914, Lebanon suffered a 4 year famine followed by the beginning of World War I that brought Lebanon more issues since Ottoman Empire allied with Austria, Hungary and Germany. The government of Ottoman cancelled Lebanon's semi independent status and appointed Djemal Pasha. Jamal Pasha blocked the eastern Mediterranean coast to avert enemies from accessing supplies with a consequence of even more Lebanese deaths in February 1915. Lebanon was proclaimed as a republic and its constitution was adopted in 1926 However, already in 1932 it was suspended, as some groups wanted to join Syria and others wanted independence from France. The country's census was conducted in 1934. On 22 November 1943 independence was achieved and French forces left in 1946. The warring Christians took power and economy over the country. A parliament was constituted in which both Christians and Muslims had their seats.. In the agreement, the Speaker of Parliament was to be a Shia Muslim, the Prime Minister - a Sunni Muslim and the President - a Christian. This war was fuelled by internal and external factors making it difficult to calm the situation.
The Main Causes of the Civil War in Lebanon
While no consensus exists on what triggered the Civil War, conversion of the Palestinian refugee population to militias and the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces is pointed out to have sparked a war amongst the conflicting factions. Another argument is that traces of war go back to the disagreements and leadership compromises agreed upon after the end of the Ottoman Empire rule. Another powerful factor causing disintegration was the mass polarization prior to the political crisis that hit Lebanon in 1958. These conflicts partly were attributed to individual interests of political figures such as the War of the Pashas. External interference such as the founding Fatah’s members aided the insurrection and fuelled protests in taking streets. While this war ended internally by 1975, the presence of foreign armed forces exercised a foreign policy of other states coupled with a veto on Lebanese politics that had a visible effect on Lebanon. The Israel establishment and the later displacement of Palestinian refugees in the country had an undeniable change on the Lebanon providing a foundation for regional conflicts.
The Palestinian Authority and the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq
Palestinian authority and Kurdish Regional Governments differ in both ideology and system. The manner in which the two acquired power and the causes they championed determines the status enjoyed by each politically. Arguing from an insider point of view Kurdish authority rose to power in October 1991 under guerrillas having endured a long period of exclusion and a war that had a strong ideological base which was able to advance its cause by closely knitting its supporters, so this has created wide acceptance and higher political status. Consequently it survived the odds till it held parliamentary elections in May 1992 and established Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Palestinian authority, on the other hand, under the body Palestine Liberation Organization confederation under Yasser Arafat has survived albeit as an autocratic outfit occasioned with rebelling groups and invasion of other countries such as Lebanon. The political system it adapted ultimately influenced the political status and though weak in championing a plausible cause it identified with the refugee and the poor hence acceptable. Although it may ultimately not enjoy popularity amongst its people compared to Kurdish, Kurdish and Palestinian authorities are both similar in having survived tough political times and faced rebellions, yet have triumphed.