31 January 2011

Trend: Again less democracies in the world

While recent events in North Africa could lead one to believe otherwise, the "Freedom in the World 2011" survey, released on 13 January 2011 by Freedom House, an organization that advocates democracy around the world, finds that last year, like the years before, the number of electoral democracies declined further.

According to the press release, "[t]his represents the longest continuous period of decline in the nearly 40-year history of the survey. [...] A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains [...], and the number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, far below the 2005 figure of 123. [...] Three countries – the Philippines, Tanzania, and Tonga – achieved electoral democracy status after conducting elections that were regarded as improvements over earlier polls. Declines in Burundi, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, and Sri Lanka triggered their removal from the list of electoral democracies."

In an overview essay, "Freedom in the World 2011: The Authoritarian Challenge to Democracy", the author, Arch Puddington, Director of Research at Freedom House, writes: "[T]he world's most powerful authoritarians have acted with aggression and self-assurance, and democratic leaders have responded with equivocation or silence. [...] Among lesser powers, those with energy riches or geostrategic significance demonstrated that acts of antidemocratic contempt will draw no serious rebuke from the democratic world. [...] [I]f the world's democracies fail to unite and speak out in defense of their own values, despots will continue to gain from divide-and-conquer strategies, as Russia's leaders are now doing in their approach to Europe and the United States. [...] The past decade began at a high point for freedom and concluded with freedom under duress."

Details are to be found here:


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