Over the past decade, the states of the Arabian peninsula have taken strides to liberalize their political systems. They have convened elections for different types of representative bodies and have liberalized their economies more than ever before. Some countries have even systematized these elections over time. While the political science literature views elections as a significant step towards political liberalization, it remains unclear whether or not elections in authoritarian settings actually lead to more meaningful reforms. This paper considers the institutional set-up and limits that are placed on representative bodies in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, and how these inhibit manifestation of additional reforms.

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