Kurdistan’s Democratic Developments Amid a Rentier Oil Economy
It is a common understanding that democracy is hard to flourish in oil-rich countries and in fact, majority of these countries are either authoritarian or dictatorial. The Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), whether relying on Baghdad or independently selling oil to generate revenue, could be all standards called a rentier. However, unlike other examples of rentier states, there are some democratic features in the KRI. Although far from perfect, elections are largely fair and free, freedom of expression and association is high, pluralism and diversity exist, among others—there has been no coverage of KRI by the democracy indexes. For that purpose, this chapter will be using the Economic Intelligence’s Democracy Index methodology to measure it. It will thereafter look into the reasonable reasons behind the democratic developments and provide explanation to this outstanding example. This is the first time in academic publications that both measuring democracy and studying the democratic developments in KRI are done.