IRELAND is the sixth most democratic country in the world, according to a new report.
In their newly-issued research into democracy around the world in 2019, the Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) states that there are only 22 truly democratic countries in the world, with Norway, Iceland and Sweden being the most democratic, and Ireland in sixth place, just ahead of Denmark.
The United Kingdom lies in 14th place.
The Democracy Index is deemed important in matters of trade — democracy means stability and a marked lack of corruption, two factors crucial in commercial as well as social development in any country.
Ireland’s improved position on the index is due to advances in civil liberties in recent times in issues such as gay rights and abortion.
The EIU’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories. The survey covers the vast majority of the world’s states, encompassing almost the entire population of the world.
Ranking is judged on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. Ireland, scoring high in all categories, has steadily moved up the index since 2011.
Based on its scores on a range of indicators within the categories, each country is itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”
Five EU countries are regarded as having flawed democracies: Portugal, Malta, Belgium, Cyprus and Greece. The rest of the EU countries, including Ireland, are regarded as full democracies.
According to the EIU’s measure of democracy, almost one-half (48.4 per cent) of the world’s population live in a democracy of some sort, although only 5.7 per cent reside in a “full democracy”.
This is down from 8.9 per cent in 2015 as a result of the US being demoted from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy” in 2016.
More than one-third of the world’s population lives under authoritarian rule, with China accounting for a large part of this, according to the report.
The world’s least democratic country is adjudged to be North Korea, just behind the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
The top ten democratic countries in the world according to the EIU: