2022 DEMOCRACY INDEX: SEE THE CLASSIFICATION NIGERIA'S DEMOCRACY FALLS INTO
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research division of the Economist Group and a UK-based private company, publishers of the weekly newspaper The Economist
Did you know that the Democracy Index categorizes each country into one of four regime types, namely: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, and authoritarian regimes?
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research division of the Economist Group and a UK-based private company, publishers of the weekly newspaper The Economist. Similar to a Human Development Index (HDI), but centrally concerned with political institutions and freedoms, the index attempts to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries and territories, of which 166 are sovereign states and 164 are United Nations (UN) member states.
The Democracy Index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five categories, measuring pluralism, civil liberties and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorizes each country into one of four regime types: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, and authoritarian regimes. Below are their definitions:
1️⃣ FULL DEMOCRACIES are nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, an independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and diverse and independent media. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning.
2️⃣ FLAWED DEMOCRACIES are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honoured but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics). These nations can have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.
3️⃣ HYBRID REGIMES are nations with regular electoral frauds, preventing them from being fair and free democracies. These nations commonly have governments that apply pressure on political opposition, non-independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anaemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance.
4️⃣ AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES are nations where political pluralism is nonexistent or severely limited. These nations are often absolute monarchies or dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy but with meagre significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections (if they take place) are not fair or free (including sham elections), the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and censorship and suppression of governmental criticism are commonplace.
The first Democracy Index report was published in 2006. Reports were published every two years until 2010 and annually thereafter. Here is a 2022 analysis of Democracy Index of each regions in the world:
North America (Canada and U.S.) is the top-ranked region in the Democracy Index with an average score of 8.36, but this dropped significantly from 8.58 in 2020. Both countries have dropped their positions in the global ranking, however, Canada still maintains the status as a full democracy. The U.S. is still classified by EIU as a flawed democracy, and has been since 2016... On the bright side, political participation in the U.S. is still very robust compared with the rest of the world. Latin America and the Caribbean experienced the largest decline in regional scores in the world. This region dropped from 6.09 in 2020 to 5.83 in 2021. This decline shows the general discontent of the population about how their governments have handled the pandemic. In this region, the only countries falling under the full democracy category are Costa Rica and Uruguay. On the other side of the spectrum, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba fall under the authoritarian regime classification.
In 2021, Western Europe is the region with the most full democracies in the world. In fact, four out of the top five full democracies are in this region: Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland. A notable downgrade in this region happened in Spain; the country is now considered a flawed democracy. Eastern Europe paints a different picture, where there is not a single full democracy. Three countries (Moldova, Montenegro, and North Macedonia) were upgraded from being considered hybrid regimes to flawed democracies. Ukraine’s score declined to 5.57, becoming a hybrid region. Russia’s score also declined to 3.24 keeping the authoritarian regime status. It’s important to note that this report by the EIU was published before the invasion of Ukraine began, and the conflict will almost certainly impact scores in next year’s report.
Sub-Saharan Africa has the most countries at the bottom of the Democracy Index rankings.The fact is that 23 countries are considered “authoritarian regimes”. Meanwhile, there are 14 countries that are hybrid regimes, six countries under flawed democracy, and only one country, Mauritius, is considered a full democracy. In North Africa, four countries are considered authoritarian regimes: Sudan, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria. Only Morocco and Tunisia fall into the hybrid regime classification.
◼️MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA
This region concentrates a substantial number of countries classified as authoritarian regimes. In fact, the region’s overall democracy score is now lower than what it was before the start of the Arab Spring in 2010. There are no countries falling under the category of full democracy in this region. Only Israel (7.97) and Cyprus (7.43) are considered flawed democracies. Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Pakistan fall under the category of hybrid regimes, and the rest of the countries in the region are considered authoritarian regimes.
◼️EAST ASIA AND OCEANIA
This is broad region is full of contrasts. Aside from Western Europe, East Asia and Oceania contains the most full democracies: New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, and Japan. There are also a high number of countries that fall under the category of flawed democracies. It’s worth noting that some of the most contentious geopolitical relationships are between neighbors with big differences in their scores: China and Taiwan, or North and South Korea are examples of this juxtaposition.
Two years after the world got hit by the pandemic, we can see that global democracy is in a downward trend. Every region’s global score experienced a drop, with the exception of Western Europe, which remained flat. Out of the 167 countries, 74 (44%) experienced a decline in their democracy score.
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