Evidence from waves of democratization shows proportional election systems, however imperfect, to be the better option in most contexts.
The Arab events of 2011 may have some similarities to the wave of popular upheavals against authoritarianism that swept the Soviet bloc starting in 1989, but the differences are much more fundamental.
Across the Arab world, militaries have played a key role in determining whether revolts against dictatorship succeed or fail. What factors determine how and why “the guys with guns” line up the way they do?
Methods of electing legislatures are fraught with consequences for the shape and quality of democracy, and must balance a number of competing goals. Amid the current political ferment of the Arab world, what kinds of electoral systems are emerging and what will they mean for democratic hopes there?