Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Democracy Index 2011

The results of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2011 show that democracy has been under intense pressure in many parts of the world. In most regions the average democracy score for 2011 is lower than in 2010, including the developed countries of North America and Western Europe. There was a decline in the average score for Eastern Europe and small declines for both Asia and Latin America. These were offset by increase in average scores in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Sub-Saharan Africa. The index released on first week of January 2012.
According to 'The Democracy Index 2011 : Democracy under stress' Nepal is ranked 108th among 167 countries and territories. In the index other South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC)'s members are India 39th, Sri Lanka 57th, Bangladesh 83rd, Bhutan 104th and Pakistan 105th. Maldives is not included in the index.
The United States ranks 19th, one notch below the United Kingdom. At the bottom of the Democracy Index 2011 rankings, at 167th, is North Korea.
A total of 53 countries, including all three Baltic states, are considered flawed democracies. Hybrid regimes are found in 37 countries, while authoritarianism reigns in 52.
The report scores countries based on five measures: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores, countries are placed in one of four different regime categories: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.
It said almost one-half of the world’s population lives in a democracy of some sort, although only 11 per cent reside in full democracies, adding that some 2.6 billion people, more than one-third of the world’s population, still lives under authoritarian rule with a large share being in China.
The report said flawed democracies are concentrated in Latin America and eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent in Asia.
“This has affected mainly electronic media, which is often under state control or heavy state influence although repression and infringements of the freedom of expression have also extended to the print media and, most recently, the Internet,” said the report. The ranking shows the first 10 full democracies as Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands.
And according to the report, the last 10 authoritarian regimes are Syria, Iran, Central African Republic, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Chad and North Korea
The report said free and fair elections and civil liberties are necessary conditions for democracy, but they are unlikely to be sufficient for a full and consolidated democracy if unaccompanied by transparent and at least minimally efficient government, sufficient political participation and a supportive democratic political culture.
However, the report said: “It is not easy to build a sturdy democracy. Even in long-established ones, democracy can corrode if not nurtured and protected.”

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