The parliamentary experience in the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States : a step towards democracy : facts and ambitions
Literature on legislatures in developing countries shows two opposing views on their effectiveness and efficiency. In the light of these views, this study chronicles the rise of the GCC States' assemblies, focusing on their role, structure, legitimacy and mechanism, as well as their relevance and contributions to the GCC States' political system. Studying national assemblies is important for understanding the GCC democratic experience, in which the assemblies played a pivotal and positive role. This study leads to the conclusion that despite the fact that the constitutional framework of the GCC States imposes limitations on the functions of the assemblies, they laid the groundwork for institutionalising the legitimacy of the political system of the GCC States, allowing room for various groups to participate in the policy process. Indeed, the GCC parliamentary experience can be appreciated when it is viewed as part of a political system aimed to reduce GCC State's vulnerability and contain external and internal threat. However, viewing the experience in the context of the Islamic teaching and from the perspective of Western democratic principles, the relevance and contribution of the GCC States' legislatures is not only elusive and intangible, but insignificant and undemocratic.