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Arab Overseas Voting — Result In Brief

Project ID: 330008
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: France

Arab migrants voting overseas

How and to what extent do Arab migrants contribute to the economic, social and political changes in their country of origin? A study examined the reasons Arab states empower their citizens abroad and the determinants of electoral behaviour.
Arab migrants voting overseas
Overseas voting is a global trend and is considered a migrant’s right and a positive contribution to democratization and development. Yet the literature on overseas voting remains at an initial stage, particularly in Arab and African countries.

To fill this research gap, the EU-funded ARAB OVERSEAS VOTING (Overseas voting among Arab migrants in the EU) project used an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to explore this topic further. It built on historical and current contrasts between two major Arab labour sending countries (Tunisia and Morocco) and two main receiving EU countries (France and Italy).

Major political changes in the Arab world and increasing migration between North Africa and the EU over the past two decades formed the context of the study.

Activities included the collection of electoral reports from Tunisian polling stations abroad as well as in-depth interviews with Tunisian diplomats, senior officials and civil society activists in Tunis and Paris. The Tunisian electoral campaign in France was observed and an anonymous exit-poll survey was conducted in Paris and its suburbs.

Results of the study were three-fold and positive. The gap in the literature on transnationalism was filled. Research tools were set up and can also be used in future case studies. Additionally myths on overseas voting have been debunked, showing the importance of overseas voting and putting this topic on the research agenda for migration and transnational studies.

Extensive dissemination occurred through academic publications and gatherings, lectures and media interviews. The academic collaborations led to the development of a network of researchers from various areas (political science, sociology, geography and economics) and specialities (area studies, migration and elections).

The work serves as a response to EU demands for further investigation of the governance of migration, particularly temporary migration and social and political changes in Arab countries. It can also contribute to interrelated research objectives with a focus on age, gender and legal status differences. These objectives include patterns for adopting overseas voting; extensive versus restrictive voting rules; voters’ turnout; and voting behaviour.

Related information


Arab migrants, electoral behaviour, overseas voting, democratization, electoral reports, polling stations, exit-poll survey, migration, transnational studies
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