The state of democracies around the world appears to be “weakening”, according to a report produced by a think tank observing democratic institutions and processes worldwide.
The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) has found that, for six years in a row, more countries have been experiencing declines in their democratic quality than have been improving.
This worrying trend which sees almost half of all the countries analysed experiencing declines in at least one indicator of democracy, has been noticed since 2017, the organisation working to support the institution of democracy said.
Michael Runey, co-author of the report into the state of democratic systems worldwide titled ‘The Global State of Democracy 2023’, said: “This is the sixth year in a row that we have seen more democracies in decline than improving.”
This tendency, he said, represents the longest “democratic recession” ever observed by IDEA since it started collecting data in 1975.
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The democratic indicators used by IDEA to evaluate the state of the political world are among others civil liberties, judicial independence and political participation.
Out of the 173 countries it analysed, IDEA found that, over the past five years, 85 performed poorly on at least “one key indicator of democratic performance”.
The report said “the foundations of democracy are weakening around the world”, as it counted a number of issues affecting the form of Government including flawed elections and restricted rights.
Among the concerns shared by the institute is a “notable decline” in terms of representation, particularly when it comes to elections and the functioning of parliaments.
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The decreasing independence of judicial systems in various nations was also highlighted as an area of concern.
While authoritarianism has become more firmly established in some of the countries where a lack of freedoms had been previously noted, the report also said to have seen an erosion of the “quality of established democracies”, with “executive powers trying to suppress countervailing institutions so as to hoard power”.
Mr Runey said: “We are also seeing a decline in the historically successful democracies of Europe, North America and Asia.”
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Signs of hope, the report said, can be seen in the fight against corruption, particularly in central Europe and the African continent.
Moreover, courts and regulatory bodies have, in many cases, stepped in where executive and legislatures weakened, IDEA also said.
Nevertheless, the overall picture “remains very negative”, the report added.
The worst year on record when it comes to the state of democracy worldwide is 2021, IDEA said.
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