Sat, Dec 17, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan’s Economist democracy ranking drops still further

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan’s democracy ranking dropped once again in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, this time falling one place to 37th position. This year is the third year that Taiwan has fallen in the ranking.

The country has dropped every year since the first edition of the index was released in 2007.

Among 165 independent states and two territories covered by the survey, published in 2007, 2008, last year and this month, the index ranked Taiwan 32nd, 33rd, 36th, and 37th respectively.

The index measures democratic performance using 60 indicators grouped into five categories and rated on a scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the highest.

In this year’s report, Taiwan scored 9.58 in the category of electoral process and pluralism, 7.14 in functioning of government, 5.56 in political participation, 5.63 in political culture and 9.41 in civil liberties, with an overall score of 7.46.

Taiwan scored the same score in the first four categories as last year, but in the civil liberty category its rating fell 0.3 points.

Taiwan’s overall score last year stood at 7.52.

According to the report, Taiwan is one of 53 countries with “flawed democracies,” which account for 37.1 percent of world population.

Twenty-five countries, or 11.3 percent of world population, ranked as “full democracies,” 37 nations (14 percent) are “hybrid regimes” and 52 countries (37.6 percent) live under “authoritarian regimes.”

Flawed democracies are countries that have free and fair elections and respect basic civil liberties, even if there are problems in other aspects of democracy, such as infringements on media freedoms, problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

Japan and South Korea are the only two Asian countries among the 25 full democracies.

China dropped from 136th last year to 141st this year, but its overall score remained 3.14.

Hong Kong maintained its ranking at No. 80 from last year, with an overall score of 5.92.

The report said this year was an exceptionally turbulent year politically, characterized by sovereign debt crises and weak political leadership in the developed world, dramatic change and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as rising social unrest throughout much of the world.

The report found that backsliding in democracy this year was concentrated in Europe.

Seven countries in Western Europe had seen a decline in their democracy score this year, while none had an increase, it said.

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