The V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg has come out with their annual democracy report titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’
According to the latest report, the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with post-Cold War democratic achievements swiftly fading in recent years.
The largest democracy dataset, comprising over 30 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2021, is produced.
What Parameters are used to Assess the Status of a Democracy?
The LDI covers both liberal (individual and minority rights) and electoral (free and fair elections) aspects of a democracy that is based on 71 indicators that make up the Liberal Component Index (LCI) and the Electoral Democracy Index (EDI).
The LCI measures the protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive. At the same time, the EDI takes into account characteristics that ensure free and fair elections.
In addition, the LDI employs an Egalitarian Component Index (the degree to which different social groups are equal), a Participatory Component Index (the health of citizen groups and civil society organizations), and Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are made through public reasoning with focus on common good or through solidarity attachments, coercion, and emotional appeals).
What are the Report’s Key Findings?
Sweden has topped the LDI index, with Denmark and Norway and Costa Rica and New Zealand, rounding out the top five liberal democracies.
In South Asia, rankings are Bhutan (65), Nepal (71), Sri Lanka (88), India(93), and Pakistan (117) in the LDI.
Based on their score on the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI), the report divides countries into four regime types: Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
In 2021, there were a total of six coups, culminating in the establishment of four new autocracies: Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Myanmar.
The number of liberal democracies has decreased from 42 in 2012 to 34 countries today. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of closed autocracies, or dictatorships, increased from 25 to 30.
There are 89 democracies and 90 autocracies in the world now; electoral autocracy remains the most common government type, with electoral democracies coming in second.
Reasons behind the overall situation:
“Toxic polarisation” is one of the most powerful drivers of autocratization. Polarisation has been defined as a condition that erodes respect for opposing viewpoints and other features of democracy’s deliberative component.
Autocratic governments have been described as using “misinformation” as a crucial tactic to exacerbate polarisation. Repression of civil society and censorship of media were other favored tools of autocratising regimes.