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Investigating the Dynamics of Political Party Change in North Africa

Supported by The British Academy and the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Durham University.


Date - Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th June 2023

Address - School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University, Al Qasimi Building, Elvet Hill Road, Durham DH1 3TU, UK


Islamist organizations across the Arab world are transforming themselves from religious social movements into programmatic political parties. Islamists once enjoyed a political advantage over their competitors, drawing on a reputation for competence and trustworthiness or the promise of divine rewards to win elections, especially in the wake of the 2011 uprisings. But across the region today even the most pragmatic Islamist parties face electoral defeat, crisis, and decline. 


This workshop brings politicians in Morocco and Tunisia into discussion with policy researchers, academics, and policy advisors. We ask: How has the experience of a decade in government changed Islamist parties? Why have they lost vote share even as they moderated their policies? What explains Islamist party strategy after poor electoral performance? How do Islamist party strategies affect the wider political process? Insights about intraparty dynamics in these cases tell us why religious parties remain pragmatic or radicalize, and whether they contribute to or hinder democratic outcomes. 


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