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Democracy is healthier than its reputation, shows global index

the Weakening of democratic institutions in countries such as Hungary, Poland and Turkey receives much media and political attention.

the Same applies to the rise of anti-democratic forces and authoritarian tendencies where democracy is not weakened in any formal way. He mentions countries like the united states, Italy, Greece and France.

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democracy in the world feel bad. The impression is reinforced by reports from international institutions, which stresses the weakening of a number of previously strong democracies.

It is not as well known that the number of authoritarian states in recent years, fell even more. In the average case not the world's system of government is towards less democracy, shows a comprehensive index developed by the political scientists at Halmstad University.

– We often forget how the world looked in the past and the authoritarian regimes that have disappeared, and been replaced with more free styrene, " says Max Rånge, who developed the demokratiindexet together with professor of political science Mikael Sandberg.

the Index, Maxrange, based on what the creators themselves are the world's longest time series on political regimes and institutions. It has charted the world's all styrene right from the year 1600, and in detail – on a monthly basis – from the year 1789.

the Regimes are defined very finkalibrigt – the scale is 100-point – but for the democratic quality, there are five main categories: qualified democracy, weak democracy, a false democracy (the state with the unfair elections and other non-functioning political institutions), autocracy (authoritarian state with some measure of political accountability) and despoti.

qualified democracies certainly decreased by 15, from 110 to 95, but at the same time, the number of weak democracies increased by 26, from 34 to 60. During the same period, the number of autocracies, both categories, decreased from 53 to 45 and the number of false democracies from 21 to 18.

It means that more countries have moved upwards, towards democracy, than the other way around, from the skilled to the weak democracy. In 2018, there were ten countries that moved in a positive direction and six that moved in a negative direction.

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Max Rånge do not want to belittle the problems that tend to be in focus, to qualified democracies weakened:

" No, but a lot of the qualified democracies ten years ago was quite fresh, and were in danger to fall back. Many had become democracies in the 1990s, after the fall of the wall.

In a certain stage of development, there is a mättnadseffekt, he points out: The fewer countries that are not democratic, the more difficult it becomes to get them to change the category.

Rånge believe that in the future, we will see a certain amount of alternation between strong and weak democracies.

– The drop to weak democracy stops in rule to remain there or go back up to the qualified. In the meantime, they remain, they can be consolidated.

That in the new democracies can swing back and forth between a democracy and more or less autocracy has in recent years been labelled in, for example, the south asian countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Malaysia.

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with a high reputation, in particular, the us Freedom house and the british magazine Economist's analysis unit EIU, highlights setbacks.

Freedom house latest report, entitled ”Democracy in retreat”, and affirms that the freedom in the world dropped for the 13th year in a row.

According to the EIU was the global demokratiindexet 2018 lower than in 2006, and has only once since then, been even lower (2010).

Their assemblies is often described as the progress of democracy. But the Max Rånge have two objections to it:

• The measuring part other than democracy.

• The change sometimes their criteria, so that historical comparisons become unfair.

" They have begun to emphasize other criteria as the civil and civil rights more than they have done in the past. It gives a distortion when comparing the backward, " says Max Rånge.

Freedom house admits itself that this way of working changed as the perception of political and civil rights changed and that a certain degree of subjectivity is built into the method.

the EIU notes that there is an ongoing debate about what democracy is.

The british institute believes that Italy, France, Greece and Portugal today are flawed democracies. According to Maxrange, they are all qualified democracies.

slipping backwards the last few years and are placed by the two mentioned international institutions in their most authoritarian categories.

According to Max Rånge the country has, in fact, since 2003, had a fairly stable formal authoritarian level.

" the Decline will be a result of the weighing of informal criteria and subjective judgements.

Maxrange defined Russia as authoritarian but not as a despoti.

Donald Trumps the united states be stamped by the EIU as a flawed democracy, and on Freedom house's indexes have the superpower has fallen since 2010, and most of 2017.

– With us is the united states remain at the same level. The USA's democracy works. But had a similar controversial person come to power in a country with a weaker democracy had the person had more opportunities to influence, " says Rånge.

To measure democracy, it is reasonable to define it according to the literal and original meaning, ”government by the people”, he thinks.

" in my opinion, to the measurement mainly focus on the linkage between political leaders and the people. How representative and legitimate they are elected and how well it is possible to set them to responsibility?

" the Emphasis should be on choice, political competition and political rights. So far as is reasonable to the concept of democracy be åsiktsneutralt.

the strict democratic systems can affect even Maxrange-index.

An example is the Philippines under the authoritarian president Duterte. The sanctioned killing of criminals, that of human rights groups called extrajudicial executions, has reduced the country from the qualified to the weak democracy.

And how is it with Hungary, Poland and Turkey? Well, they försämringarna all agree on that.

Maxrange fell in Hungary eight years ago from the qualified to the weak democracy and after the elections in 2018 (with hesitation) down to the fake democracy, while Poland went from the qualified to the weak democracy in 2015. Turkey has in five years gone from the qualified democracy to false via the weak democracy and autocracy.

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