Report highlights global democracies in “recession”

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Approximately half of the world’s nations are currently encountering a decline in their democratic systems, as highlighted in a recent report on global democracy. The report, published today, identifies this year as experiencing the lengthiest period of “democratic recession”.

According to Michael Runey, co-author of the study conducted by IDEA International, a think tank based in Stockholm, this marks the sixth consecutive year where more democracies are regressing rather than progressing. This pattern signifies the lengthiest democratic recession observed by the organisation since its data collection began in 1975.

To evaluate the status of democracies worldwide, the think tank, uses various democratic indicators such as civil liberties, judicial independence, and political participation.

The report underscores a weakening of democratic foundations globally, encompassing issues ranging from flawed elections to restricted rights. Among the 173 countries analysed, 85 showed unsatisfactory outcomes in at least one key indicator of democratic performance over the last five years. The decline is particularly noticeable in the field of representation, notably concerning elections, parliamentary functionality, and adherence to the rule of law, including the independence of judicial systems within countries.

Even historically robust democracies in Europe, North America, and Asia are witnessing a decline. This global decline in democratic systems is exemplified, among other instances, by the coups that were happening in various African nations.

Regarding rights, the authors point out that freedom of expression and assembly has experienced several setbacks, although these declines are not notably substantial on a global scale. The report also indicates improvements in the rule of law after years of stagnant corruption levels.

Although there are glimpses of progress in specific countries, such as in Central Europe and certain parts of Africa, the overall assessment remains predominantly negative, concluding that the global scenario still presents significant challenges to democratic principles.

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