By Nicolas Rowe
In the 2020 edition of their Democracy Index, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) recorded the worst state of global democracy since the index was first produced in 2006.
Snapshot of global democracy
The report aims to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, covering almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s sovereign states. Using 60 indicators that collectively measure the electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties, it assigns each country a democracy score on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on their scores, countries are grouped into “full democracies”, “flawed democracies”, “hybrid regimes”, and “authoritarian regimes”.
Democracy index declined in almost 70% of countries
In 2020, the average global democracy score fell from 5.44 in 2019 to 5.37, marking the lowest score in the index’s history. In total, the democracy scores of 116 countries declined, with only 38 improving and the other 13 stagnating. On a positive note, the percentage of the world’s population living in “full democracies” rose from 5.7% in 2019 to 8.4% in 2020 thanks to the improvement of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. At the same time, France and Portugal lost the “full democracy” status they had regained in 2019.
[The rest of this piece can be read on the Democracy Without Borders website.]