Moving beyond street protests: Building social accountability in the Arab world

At the heart of the upheavals that swept across the Middle East region during the Arab Spring was the call for more transparent, fair and accountable government.

In the aftermath of the uprisings, specialists are left to address the issue of transition to democratic rule. In doing so, they have to answer the following questions: how can we systemize the culture of accountability and democratic governance?

The answer lies in the inclusion of citizens and civil society in monitoring public representatives. Building the capacity of citizens in the oversight of public service providers might be the key to sustaining the advances made through the pressure of street protests. While economic and political reform has traditionally been state-centered, successful governance calls for deeper involvement by citizens and local councils through direct engagement with elected officials to push for the transparent provision of public services.[ii]

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