World politics : After Egypt, how to assess vulnerabilities ?

Publié le 25 février 2011

Tunisia’s and Egypt’s authoritarian leaders have been toppled. The question now is whether popular protests and uprisings will sweep through the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and possibly spread to authoritarian regimes in other regions. It is safe to say that vulnerabilities exist in many countries, but assessing whether popular discontent will translate into a serious challenge to a regime is problematic. Any efforts to quantify a given country’s vulnerability are by nature imprecise. Nonetheless, as a rough guide to which countries could see similar upheaval to that of the past few weeks, the Economist Intelligence Unit has developed an index for the vulnerability of autocratic regimes to political revolt. The index covers 55 countries, including the two—Tunisia and Egypt—where revolution has just occurred.