Fifth edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy index. It reflects the situation at the end of 2012. In 2012 global democracy was at a standstill in the sense that there was neither significant progress nor regression in democracy in that year. Average regional scores in 2012 were very similar to scores in 2011.
Resumen en español: Pocos cambios importantes en el último año. Retroceso en Europa Central y Oriental, nada menos que en diez países de la región. Decepción en los países del llamado despertar árabe y terrible retroceso, como se puede comprender, en Siria a causa de la guerra. Sería prematuro, de todos modos, dar por fallidas las transformaciones árabes, pues la democracia, siempre imperfecta, no es un destino sino un proceso de maduración o de crecimiento imposible de fructificar en uno o dos años, salvo en sus aspectos más formales y frágiles, como pueden ser unas elecciones más o menos libres y plurales. España, en el puesto 25, por delante de países como Francia o Italia, pero por detrás la mitad de los países de la UE. Los escandinavos, Nueva Zelanda, Australia y Suiza siguen a la cabeza, mientras que Corea del Norte, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Siria y Arabia Saudí, por ese orden, figuran como los más autoritarios de los 167 regímenes políticos incluidos en la clasificación.
While some of the most oppressive parts of the world have made significant gains in democracy in the past year, the overall pace of democratic change remained stagnant in 2012. That is the conclusion of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s recently published annual report on the state of global democracy for 2012.
Stagnation of democracy
Key recent developments include:
The unprecedented rise of movements for democratic change across the Arab world led many toexpect a new wave of democratisation. But it has become apparent that democracy in the region remains a highly uncertain prospect.
2012 was characterised by sovereign debt crises and weak political leadership in the developedworld.
Popular confidence in political institutions continues to decline in many European countries.
The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracy category. US democracy has been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene and political brinkmanship and paralysis. The UK is beset by a deep institutional crisis.
In eastern Europe democracy declined in 10 countries in 2012. Had it not been for the significant improvement in the score for Georgia, the regional average score for eastern Europe would have declined in 2012 compared with 2011.
Rampant crime in some countries—in particular, violence and drug-trafficking—continues to have a negative impact on democracy in Latin America.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category has a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall index of democracy is the simple average of the five category indexes.
The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0o 10 scale. Adjustments to the category scores are made if countries do not score a 1 in the following critical areas for democracy:
1. whether national elections are free and fair
2. the security of voters
3. the influence of foreign powers on government
4. the capability of the civil service to implement policies.
If the scores for the first three questions are 0 (or 0.5), one point (0.5 point) is deducted from the index in the relevant category (either the electoral process and pluralism or the functioning of government). If the score for 4 is 0, one point is deducted from the functioning of government category index.
The index values are used to place countries within one of four types of regimes:
1. Full democracies–scores of 8-10
2. Flawed democracies–score of 6 to 7.9
3. Hybrid regimes–scores of 4 to 5.
4 Authoritarian regimes–scores below 4
Threshold points for regime types depend on overall scores that are rounded to one decimal point.