Global Democracy Report | “Democracy is deteriorating” for the first time in the United States

(Stockholm) The United States joined the list of “declining democracies” for the first time mainly due to a rating downgrade in the second half of Trump’s presidency, according to a landmark report on world democracy released Monday.


Mark Brill
France media agency

Globally, more than a quarter of the world’s population now lives in a shrinking democracy and nearly 70% add authoritarian or “hybrid” regimes, with a trend of democratic decline that has continued unabated since 2016, according to the annual report of the intergovernmental organization. IDEA International is based in Stockholm.

Its list of declining democracies was updated every year, and it already included India, Brazil and the Philippines as well as two European Union countries – Poland and Hungary. A third European country, Slovenia, was also added this year.

Alexander Hudson, one of the authors of High Level Democracy, said that even if the US remained a “high-level democracy,” America’s decline was linked to the country’s decline in indicators of “civil liberties and government oversight.” study.

International IDEA cites in particular the “historic turning point” in the electoral challenges for the November 2020 presidential election by Donald Trump and the “regression of congressional inquiries about the president’s work between 2018 and 2020”.

“We ranked the United States as ‘in regression’ for the first time this year, but our data suggests that the cycle of decline began at least in 2019,” Hudson says.

Covering half a century of democracy indicators and tracking most of the world’s countries (about 160), IDA categorizes them into three categories: democracy (including “democracy in decline”), “hybrid” and authoritarian regimes.

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The apparent deterioration of democracy in the United States, as evidenced by the growing tendency to challenge reliable election results, efforts to suppress turnout, and pervasive polarization […] International IDEA Secretary General Kevin Casas Zamora said:

With seven countries now, the number of countries in which democracy is seen as declining has doubled in nearly a decade.

Two countries that were on the list last year (Ukraine and North Macedonia) have left because the situation has improved. Two other countries, Mali and Serbia, were excluded, because the two countries were no longer considered democracies.

For the fifth year in a row in 2020, the number of countries moving in the direction of authoritarianism has exceeded the number of countries in the process of democratization.

An unprecedented situation since the organization’s data began in the 1970s and should continue into 2021.

Burma, Afghanistan and Mali are out of service

Burma will indeed be degraded from the rank of democracy to that of an authoritarian regime. Afghanistan and Mali are shifting from hybrid regimes to authoritarian regimes.

Zambia, now classified as a democracy, is the only country to change its rating positively this year.

For 2021, IDEA’s interim score identifies 98 democracies – a number at a multi-year low – 20 “hybrid” regimes including Russia, Morocco or Turkey and 47 authoritarians, including China, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia and Iran.

By adding withdrawn democracies, hybrid and authoritarian regimes, “we reach 70% of the world’s population. This says a lot about the fact that something dangerous is happening to the democratic quality,” emphasizes Mr. Casas Zamora.

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International IDEA confirmed its findings last year, according to which more than six out of ten countries have taken measures problematic for human rights or respect for democratic rules in the face of COVID-19, because they were “illegal, disproportionate, and without time.” or superfluous.”

More than nine out of ten authoritarian regimes are involved, but also more than 40% of democracies.

“It is clear that the pandemic has precipitated some negative trends, particularly in countries where democracy and the rule of law were already suffering before,” said Mr. Casas Zamora.

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