The public protests that engulfed most Arab regimes in 2011 have since opened a Pandora’s Box of democratization processes in the MENA region. One of the upshots of the popular uprisings has been the empowerment of the key opposition group in the region, i.e. mainly Islamist actors. Despite the electoral victories of Islamist political parties after decades of political exclusion, the Islamist movement and its agenda in the post-Arab Spring era have followed different trajectories in various countries around the region. This article aims to explore the divergent trajectories of two countries in the region, namely the inclusion of Islamists in the case of Tunisia and their exclusion in the case of Jordan. As a corollary, the divergent domestic and regional contexts shaping the politics of Islamist parties will be explored.
One of the main debates that has surfaced in the post-Arab Uprisings era has centered on whether or not the demonstrations will lead to regime change or increased authoritarianism in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
This paper argues that the purpose of democratization in Jordanian politics is not only a political co-optation policy to cope with the negative effects of the country’s economic recession, but also to ensure the survival of the Hashemite monarchy. The process of democratization in the region has been closely tied with the notions of inclusiveness and exclusiveness. This is due to ‘incomplete’ national identity-building formation in most parts of the Middle East. For that particular purpose, the main objective of this paper is not to re-assert the uniqueness of politics in the Arab world, but rather to engage in how politics of regime survival in the case of Jordan shape the process of democratization in the post – 1989 era. Thus this paper will examine the period following the normalization of relations with Israel in 1994, the Palestinian question, the repercussions of current social upheavals in the Arab world, and how these specific circumstances affect Jordan’s democratic opening.