Comparative Decentralization Policy Trajectories in Egypt and Tunisia
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has been known to have some of the longest regimes of centrally controlled governments. In the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring, citizens and political pundits alike expected this centralized political system to open up and create spaces for local government action. Seven years have passed, governments have changed, yet local governments remain incapacitated. Some commentators have pointed to this excessive centralization as a relic of the region’s historical connections to the Ottoman (e.g., Coşgel and Miceli 2005; Tosun and Yilmaz 2008) and European rules (e.g., Hanna 1995). Others like Nefissa (2009) see the problem as part of a complex trend toward informal and apolitical decentralization.
To gain a deeper understanding of why local governments in MENA countries are still weak in the post “Arab...
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