Democracy Index 2011

Topics: Democracy, Authoritarianism, Democracy Index Pages: 57 (18341 words) Published: May 12, 2013

Democracy index 2011 Democracy under stress
A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit

Democracy Index 2011 Democracy under stress

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Democracy 2011 Democracy under stress This is the fourth edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy index. It reflects the situation as of the beginning of December 2011. The first edition, published in The Economist’s The World in 2007, measured the state of democracy in September 2006; the second edition covered the situation towards the end of 2008; and the third as of November 2010. The index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories—this covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s independent states (micro states are excluded). The overall Democracy index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: full democracies; flawed democracies; hybrid regimes; and authoritarian regimes. 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. It is not easy to build a sturdy democracy. Even in long-established ones, democracy can corrode if not nurtured and protected.

A turbulent year
2011 was an exceptionally turbulent year politically, characterised by sovereign debt crises and weak political leadership in the developed world, dramatic change and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and rising social unrest throughout much of the world. It featured important changes in democracy, both in the direction of unexpected democratisation and a continuation of decline in democracy in some parts of the world. The momentous events in the Arab world have been extraordinary in several respects. The popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt a year ago were sudden and unexpected, occurring in seemingly infertile territory. These revolts were home-grown affairs that overturned a host of stereotypes about the MENA region and caught the outside world unaware. Other key developments in 2011 include: l Popular confidence in political institutions continues to decline in many countries. l Mounting social unrest could pose a threat to democracy in some countries. l US democracy has been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene and political brinkmanship and paralysis. l The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracy category. There has been a rise in protest movement. Problems in the functioning of government are more prominent. TM


© The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2011

Democracy Index 2011 Democracy under stress

l Although extremist political forces in Europe have not yet profited from economic dislocation as might have been feared, populism and anti-immigrant sentiment are on the rise. l Eastern Europe experienced another decline in democracy in 2011. In 12 countries of the region the democracy score declined in 2011. l Rampant crime in some countries—in particular, violence and drug-trafficking—continues to have a negative impact on democracy in Latin America. The unprecedented rise of movements for democratic change across the Arab world a year ago led many to expect a new wave of democratisation. But it soon became apparent that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt would not be repeated so easily elsewhere and that democracy remained a highly uncertain prospect. Many MENA autocracies resorted to a mix of repression and cosmetic changes.

Erosion of democracy in Europe
Global backsliding in democracy has...
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