World Democracy Index: 55% of the world has no real participation

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In the ranking, Norway is positioned as the best democracy in the world, while socialist nations such as North Korea occupy the last positions

World Democracy Index: 55% of the world has no real participation

At the beginning of this 2019, the Democracy Index of 2018 was made public, the eleventh exposed by the The Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU). This famous ranking explains the political reality of 167 countries of the world, 166 of them established as sovereign States and 165 members of the United Nations Organization (UN).

Leer en español: Índice de Democracia Mundial: 55 % del mundo no tiene verdadera participación

The EIU explains that the population taken could be defined as 'global', taking into account that only micro-states such as the Principality of Monaco or the Vatican are excluded. Thus, "this (ranking) is almost equal to the estimated world population," explains the publication.

How is democracy in the world?

The ranking positions the States within four types of systems, some a little more democratic than others and a large number that, for The Economist, are far removed from what is a democracy:

1) Full Democracies: 8.1 points or more

2) Defective democracies: 6.1 to 8.0 points

3) Hybrid regimes 4.1 to 6.0 points

4) Authoritarian regimes: 4.0 points or less

Then, according to the analysis that can be made of the ranking, democracy is in a moment of crisis on a world scale. In the XXI century there are still 92 nations that can be considered as regimes (39 hybrids and 53 authoritarian). That is to say, in theory, 55% of the countries in the world do not know what is, at least, a defective democracy.

The EIU explains that this situation is due to the fact that political institutions have lost the validity that they had in other times, which can be translated as "a deterioration of trust in democracy".

However, distrust of traditional politics led, in a domino effect, to an increase of political participation. "The results indicate that voters around the world, in fact, are not disconnected from democracy. They are clearly disillusioned with formal political institutions, but have been driven into action. At a global level, voter participation and affiliation to political parties, for example, counteracted the trend of recent years and began to increase in 2018," indicates the report.

"Although clearly disillusioned with formal political institutions, the population has turned anger into action and has become a vote and protest", is the explanation that the EIU gives of this phenomenon.

This is how the top 10 of 'Best Democracies in the World' was:

1) Norway: 9.87

2) Iceland: 9.58

3) Sweden: 9.39

4) New Zealand: 9.26

5) Denmark: 9.22

6) Canada: 9.15

7) Ireland: same score as Canada

8) Finland: 9.14

9) Australia: 09

10) Switzerland: 9.03

You may be interested: Where are the international organizations in the crisis in Venezuela?

Latin America: between regimes and democracies

Of course, the decline in world democracy had an effect on the political reality of Latin America, an area of the world that obtained an average of 6.24 in the general index. Translated into the types of political systems, this means a constant fluctuation between democracies and regimes.

With a total score of 8.38 and 8.07, Uruguay and Costa Rica are considered the most stable democracies in Latin America, and number 15 and 20, respectively, in the world.

The case of Venezuela and Cuba is the opposite, as they are considered in the ranking as authoritarian regimes, 3.16 and 3.00, respectively. On a global scale, the country led by Nicolás Maduro occupies the 134th place, while the Cuban was in the 142nd position.

The top 8 of 'Best Latin American democracies' was:

1) Chile (7.97 points and 23 place in the world).

2) Trinidad and Tobago (7.16 points, position 43).

3) Panama (7.05 points, position 45).

4) Argentina (7.02 points, position 47).

5) Jamaica (same numbers as Argentina).

6) Suriname (6.98 points, position 49).

7) Brazil (6.97 points, position 50).

8) Colombia (6.96, position 51).


How was the ranking done?

According to the EIU, there are five major categories that define the way in which a country's democracy develops and lives:

1) Electoral process and pluralism.

2) Civil liberties.

3) Government functioning.

4) Political participation.

5) Political culture.

Likewise, The Economist indicated that these categories can be explained through 60 indicators, each with a maximum score of 1 and a minimum of 0 (an intermediate of 0.5 if the question has three multiple response options). For example:

Question number 3, belonging to the category 'Electoral process and pluralism':

Are the municipal elections free and fair?

1: They are free and fair.

0.5: They are free, but not fair.

0  They are not free or fair.


With the results of each question (indicator), something called 'category index' is calculated, which consists of the sum of the scores of the questions of each category, with values within a scale of 0 to 10 and its respective average.

In this way, "each category has a rating on a scale of 0 to 10, and the overall Index (of the ranking) is the simple average of the five category indexes." That is, for example, the United Kingdom can be considered as the fourteenth (14) country with the best democracy in the world, thanks to the 8.53 points of the general index it obtained. This result occurred after averaging a score of 9.58 in 'electoral process and pluralism'; 7.50 in 'the functioning of government'; 8.33 in 'political participation'; 8.13 in 'the political culture' and 9.12 in 'civil liberties'.

However, the 167 countries that are analyzed are not exempt from losing points in their final total, if they do not reach a score of 1 in what the EIU has denominated as Critical Areas for Democracy:

1) If the national elections are free and fair.

2) The security of the voters.

3) The influence of foreign powers in government.

4) The capacity of the civil service to implement policies.

"If the scores for the first three questions are 0 (or 0.5), a point (0.5 points) of the index is deducted in the corresponding category (either the electoral process and pluralism or the functioning of the government). If the score of the fourth is 0, a point in the index of the category 'government functioning' is deduced," explains the study.


LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramirez

Translated from "Índice de Democracio Mundial: 55 % del mundo no tiene verdadera participación"

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