Although elections and political reforms are needed in the wake of the Arab Spring, premature elections could usher in a period of continued political instability punctuated by violence, or introduce new totalitarian regimes that would assume power under the pretext of maintaining order and stability. Of paramount importance is the formation of transitional governments proportionally representative of all segments of the populations for a minimum of five years. Such a government would be tasked with writing a new constitution and instituting gradual political reforms, while promoting human rights and economic development programs. Otherwise, elections will fail to produce the desired outcome of a free and vibrant new political and social order.
Indeed, no Arab country is ready for comprehensive political reforms without first developing a democratic culture, creating the environment that encourages the formation of political parties, and develops a clear political platform that is freely promoted to the public. Here, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and even Tunisia offer good examples of where internal socio-economic and political conditions highlight the difficulties involved. To that end, the situation in these Arab states strongly suggests that unless the following seven impediments are fully addressed, the Arab Spring will turn out to be the cruelest winter, shattering all hopes promised by the uprisings.
1. The Rush for Parliamentary Elections
The rush to hold elections invariably favors the existing social and/or political groups that are the most organized, disciplined, and rooted in society. In Egypt and Tunisia, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) dominated the political scene. In Libya, however, although there was a strong possibility that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) would win the Islamic wave was broken and continued political instability will dominate the immature Libyan political landscape. Generally, the inability of secular and independent parties and those who share similar political orientations to coalesce around a single platform has generally boosted the performance of the Islamists, as the former had neither the time nor the means to organize politically and offer alternate political platforms to the Islamists.