BE2C2 Report — The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest Democracy Index 2016 shows 72 countries (out of 167) experienced a decline in democratic values last year. Countries with declining levels of democracy outnumbered those becoming more democratic by more than 2 to 1.
The US, a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has become a “flawed democracy”, as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined, The EIU study says.
The score for the US fell to 7.98 from 8.05 in 2015, causing the world’s leading economic superpower to slip below the 8.00 threshold for a “full democracy”.
However, in Asia in general, and in South Asian countries in particular, their democracy index has improved over the years (2006-2016).
Asia made more headway in advancing democracy than any other region, increasing its regional average score from 5.44 to 5.74, but still below the world average and therefore its countries remain considered as “flawed democracies”.
South Asia’s average index also showed improvement– from 4.33 in 2006 (Democracy Index was launched in 2006) to 4.88 in 2016.
Pakistan’s (4.33) and Nepal’s (4.86) index remain below the regional average of 4.88 for the year 2016.
Indian, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh lead in the first, second and third positions respectively, with scores well above the regional average.
Pakistan at sixth position has however, improved from 3.92 in 2006 (military dictatorship) to 4.33 in 2016 (democratic governments since 2008), followed by Afghanistan in the 7th place with 2.55 index.
Even then, according to the EIU’s Democracy Index, all these countries have been classified as “flawed democracies” while Afghanistan has been considered “totalitarian” despite two consecutive elections which brought civilian government.
The EIU’s Democracy Index measures the state of democracy by rating electoral processes and pluralism, the state of civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture in more than 160 countries worldwide.
Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”; “flawed democracy”; “hybrid regime”; and “authoritarian regime”.
According to EIU, the average global democracy index shows that the score in 2016 fell to 5.52, down from 5.55 in 2015 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
Norway leads the Index as the world’s strongest democracy, followed by Iceland and Sweden. New Zealand comes fourth, with Denmark in fifth and Canada and Ireland in joint sixth place. Switzerland, Finland and Australia round off the top ten of “full democracies.”
The Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. This covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s states (microstates are excluded).