The first months of 2011 will go down in history for the remarkable "Arab Spring" movement for democracy. Nonviolent protests by young men and women have led to a string of dictatorial regimes falling or are tottering, including Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. Protests have been grounded in a basic drive for democracy and freedom, but as nations turn toward having their first truly democratic elections, the details of how to run fair elections are of immense importance.
Egypt will have parliamentary elections in September, for example. Experts in a New York Times editorial roundtable , including FairVote co-founder Steven Hill, overwhelmingly recommended going from U.S.-style winner-take-all elections to proportional representation. A recent Eyptian poll shows overwhelming support for this change. As reflected in recent news stories, proportional representation also has been central to reform discussion in Yemen, Jordan and other Arab countries.