NewsLocalCyprus still a "flawed democracy" in latest Economist Democracy Index

Cyprus still a “flawed democracy” in latest Economist Democracy Index

Cyprus ranks 38 out of 167 countries in the 2022 Democracy Index of the Economist, published on Wednesday.

This is the same ranking that the country had in 2021.

With an overall score of 7.38 out of 10, the island is described as a “flawed democracy,” along with another 48 countries or 37.3% of the world’s population.

Specifically, Cyprus scores 9.17 in the category of ‘electoral process and pluralism,’ 8.82 for ‘civil liberties,’ however it is particularly low in ‘functioning of government’ (5.36), ‘political participation’ (6.67) and ‘political culture’ (6.88).

Only 8% of the world lives in “full democracies”

According to the Economist’s Intelligence Unit, only 8% of the world resides in a “full democracy”, compared with 8.9% in 2015, before the US was demoted from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” in 2016. More than one-third of the world’s population lives under authoritarian rule (36.9%), with a large share of them being in China and Russia.

Table 1

Room at the top: the Nordics and Europe dominate

The Nordics (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland and Denmark) dominate the top tier of the Democracy Index rankings, taking five of the top six spots, with New Zealand claiming second place.

Norway remains the top-ranked country in the Democracy Index, thanks to its high scores across all five categories of the index, especially electoral process and pluralism, political culture, and political participation.

Countries in western Europe account for eight of the top ten places in the global democracy rankings and more than half (14) of the 24 nations classified as “full democracies”.

Russia: the biggest loser in 2022

Foremost among the countries that performed poorly in 2022 was Russia, which had the biggest deterioration in score of any country in the world. Russia’s score dropped by 0.96 points to 2.28 from 3.24 in 2021 and its global ranking fell from 124th (out of 167) to 146th, close to the bottom of the global rankings.

“A corollary of the war has been a pronounced increase in state repression against all forms of dissent and a further personalisation of power, pushing Russia towards outright dictatorship. Russia recorded the biggest annual fall in its index score of any country in the world in 2022 and dropped further down the global rankings,” the Economist’s Intelligence Unit writes.

The best and the worst of 2022

In 2022 there are few changes in regime classification —five, compared with 13 in 2021. Chile, France and Spain move up to the “full democracy” category, while Papua New Guinea and Peru have been downgraded from “flawed democracies” to “hybrid regimes”.

The Democracy Index, which began in 2006, provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.

The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”.

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