The Hoover Institution hosted "Elections in the Middle East" on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 12:15pm - 1:30pm EST.
For much of its history, elections have meant little in the Middle East with authoritarian rulers performing the act without yielding any real power to their opponents. In the past two months, three countries in the Middle East; Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey held parliamentary elections.
In Lebanon, parliamentary elections were held on May 6, with Prime Minister Saad Hariri the biggest loser, and Hezbollah's hold on the country intact.
In Iraq, parliamentary elections were held on May 12, with radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr the surprise winner, the pro Iranian militias coming in second and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi scrambling to form a coalition.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyib Erdogan has called for snap parliamentary elections on June 24, to coincide with the presidential elections in a move aimed at cementing his increasingly authoritarian rule.
Do elections matter in the Middle East? How should we understand the three elections? And how should Washington react to the results?
On July 10th, the Hoover Institution hosted a panel discussion with speakers:
Samuel Tadros, Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at the Hoover Institution, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and a Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
Hussain Abdul-Hussain, the Washington Bureau Chief of Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai. His beat includes Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and the US foreign policy toward these countries. Hussain has worked as a Visiting Fellow with Chatham House, London.
Dr. Aykan Erdemir, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is a former member of the Turkish Parliament (2011-2015). Dr. Erdemir is the editor of seven books on Turkey, terrorism, and tolerance.
Hanin Ghaddar, the inaugural Friedmann Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute's Geduld Program on Arab Politics, where she focuses on Shia politics throughout the Levant. Prior to that she was the longtime managing editor of Lebanon's NOW news website.