To have meaningful free elections in the Arab world one needs to control the banking and financial system and monitor the flow of foreign money and interference by Gulf regimes and by Western governments. You need to end foreign Western hegemony before you can have free elections. Furthermore, in the capitalist economies of the Middle East, elections are increasingly an opportunity for billionaires to ascend to political power. In the North Lebanon region alone, four billionaires have reached the Lebanese parliament through their wealth in the last two decades.This insight, of course, is applicable to all elections whether among Arabs, Africans, or Americans. You can't have a few people with concentrated wealth, which is always a powerful tool or weapon, influencing the outcome of elections. Hence, the only way to establish legitimate elections is to do away with the power of ownership over the economy. An economy is always an essential sector of every society, and to have major concentrations of ownership of the economy in the hands of a small minority always negates the legitimacy of elections.
The author illustrates this insight in the rather recent history of elections in the Arab world in which such minorities frequently depend on the US/Anglo/Zionist capitalist Empire to insure their continued rule. Saudi Arabia and its offshoots of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar are illustrations of this. These anachronistic feudal kingdoms depend upon the Empire for their very existence. But other countries in the region, such as Egypt, are also affected because these rich elites depend on the Empire for their protection.
However, this is true of the entire world. Elections do not necessarily equal democracy! Capitalist ruling classes have always insured their beneficial outcome of elections through their control of elections, by their selection of candidates, their control of political parties and media corporations, gerrymandering, and outright corruption of election processes.
A people cannot have any kind of legitimate democracy while capitalists control societies either directly or indirectly with their concentrated wealth due to their ownership and control over economies. Thus, the system of capitalism along with the capitalist Empire must be smashed. Until then, we will only see a series of elected puppets who serve only the interests of the rich owners of economies at the expense of workers and the poor.