Change and political stability in the Gulf monarchies after the Arab Spring

Publication date:
Luciano Zaccara and Marta Saldaña


The states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), aided by their rentier nature, have survived as authoritarian regimes until now. Nevertheless, the desire of significant sectors of society for political liberalisation was made evident in the Arab Spring. This article shows how the authorities have responded to these demands with a combination of redistributive, cooptive and repressive measures, alongside limited
political reform. While elections were held in the six states in 2011 and 2012 as a partial response to citizens’ demands, greater legislative power has not been granted to the representative chambers. In contrast, the redistributive measures and repression seem, until now, to guarantee the stability of the existing political systems and the continuity of the governing families of the Gulf.


Key words: authoritarianism, Arab Spring, Gulf Cooperation Council, rentier states

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