Half of the world’s countries are suffering democratic decline, ranging from flawed elections to curtailed rights including freedoms of expression and assembly, an intergovernmental watchdog group said on Thursday.
IDEA bases its Global State of Democracy Indices on more than 100 variables and is using four main categories – Representation, Rights, Rule of Law and Participation – to categorise performance.
IDEA said Europe remained the world’s highest-performing region but that there had been significant declines in specific indicators of democratic performance in many established democracies, including Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
It also said Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russia and Turkey had drifted away from the rest of Europe, performing well below the European average across most indicators of democracy.
IDEA said most countries in the Americas had managed to hold credible elections and continued to have a mid-range performance across categories of democracy, though states like El Salvador and Guatemala had experienced recent, rapid dips in performance.
However, the think-tank said there were some green shoots, with surprisingly high rates of political participation and decreasing levels of corruption, especially in Africa.