Norway tops global democracy rankings while US slips down again and Russia suffers world’s biggest slide after invading Ukraine
- The Economist’s Intelligence Unit analysed each country’s democracy for 2022
- Nordic countries and Western Europe dominated the top of the global rankings
- But Russia, Afghanistan, North Korea and Myanmar were those near the bottom
Norway has come top of this year’s global democracy rankings – while the US slipped down and Russia suffered the world’s biggest slide after invading Ukraine last February.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its global democracy index for 2022, in which 167 countries saw their state of democracy ranked on a scale from one to ten across five different categories.
The Index aims to give a ‘snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide’ and evaluates ‘electoral process and pluralism’, ‘functioning of government’, ‘political participation’, ‘political culture’ and ‘civil liberties’.
The county is then put into one of four categories: ‘full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’ or ‘authoritarian regime’.
This year Norway topped the chart with an overall score of 9.81 and other Nordic countries also dominated – with Sweden in 4th place (9.39), Finland in 5th (9.29), Denmark in 6th (9.28).
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its global democracy index for 2022, with Norway topping the rankings
This year Norway (pictured is Oslo) topped the chart with an overall score of 9.81
Afghanistan remains at the bottom of the table with a score of 0.32.
In 2021, Afghanistan was declared the most undemocratic country by the Index after the swift rise of the Taliban following the chaotic US withdrawal in the summer.
Top 10 most democratic nations in 2022
The global average score was 5.29 out of 10 – compared with 5.28 in 2021 and 5.44 pre-pandemic.
This year only eight per cent of countries (24) are said to live in a ‘full democracy’ – compared with 8.9 per cent in 2015.
However, this was more than in 2021 (21 countries) as Chile, France and Spain rejoined the ranking mainly due to a reversal of pandemic restrictions – with Greece also nearing full democratic status.
59 countries are classed as being under ‘authoritarian regimes’ – making up over a third of the world’s population at 36.9 per cent.
The Index states that this conclusion is a ‘disappointing one’ for democracy as predictions suggested it could have been higher following the world’s comeback after Covid.
The evaluation states: ‘Governments around the world lifted many pandemic-related restrictions in 2022, resulting in improvements to several indicator scores across many countries, so it is striking that there was not a rebound in the index total score.’
But while Western Europe dominated the table by taking eight out of the top ten places, countries such as Russia and the US dropped down the rankings.
Russia recorded the world’s biggest decline following its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and the ‘repression and censorship’ that followed.
It dropped 0.96 in its index score and its global ranking fell from 124 to 146, with the report dubbing the country ‘the biggest loser in 2022’.
Countries are put into one of four categories: ‘Full democracy’, ‘flawed democracy’, ‘hybrid regime’ or ‘authoritarian regime’
Russia fell down the rankings due to its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Pictured here is damage from an overnight missile strike in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on February 2 this year
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv, Ukraine
The US, which was demoted to a ‘flawed democracy’ in 2016, dropped four places to 30th with a score of 7.85. President Biden is pictured at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington
The UK saw no change from last year, despite the political turmoil following Boris Johnson’s resignation as Prime Minister with Liz Truss’s 45 days in office (pictured on January 25)
The report reads: ‘If Ukraine’s fight to defend its border is a demonstration of democracy in action, Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty is the product of an imperial mindset.
‘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.’
10 least democratic nations in 2022
Later on, the report states that the country can become democratic once more but affirms that: ‘It is up to Russians to find their own path to democracy, in opposition to an increasingly dictatorial regime that is waging war abroad and inflicting repression at home.’
It says other factors which can hamper a country’s rating include ‘drug-trafficking groups, private armies, Islamist and other insurgencies, and hackers committing cyber attacks’.
The US, which was demoted to a ‘flawed democracy’ in 2016, dropped four places to 30th with a score of 7.85.
This is because it ‘remains weighed down by the country’s intense levels of political and cultural polarisation.’
Belarus – as Russia’s ally – also fell down the rankings, as did China due to State repressions as a result of Covid’s reemergence in the country.
The UK saw no change from last year, maintaining its position in 18th place with a score of 8.28.
The Index says this may seem ‘surprising’ due to the political turmoil following Boris Johnson’s resignation as Prime Minister and Liz Truss’s subsequent 45 days in office.
But it adds that the UK’s scores for confidence in government and political parties were ‘already low and either could not go lower or did not merit being downgraded further.’
The UK also saw its score boosted by the removal of isolation restrictions in February 2022 and the lifting travel restrictions in April.
Thailand was the country with the biggest upgrade (0.62) as space for political opposition opened up.
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