Bangladesh was ranked 86th in the Index of Democracy 2015 of the Economist Intelligence Unit, down one spot from the previous year.
The EIU, a special arm of the leading international financial magazine “The Economist”, released the index on January 21, providing a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 167 independent countries.
Bangladesh scored 5.73 out of 10 points when Norway secured top position with 9.93 points. Besides the number one Norway, the top five include Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark.
Among Saarc countries India came in at 35, Sri Lanka 69, Bhutan 101, Pakistan 112 and Nepal 105. Maldives is not included in the list.
North Korea was ranked worst out of 167 countries with 1.08 points. Syria, Chad, Central African Republic and Equatorial Guinea are the four other worst-ranked countries.
EIU in its report wrote: “The fearful era in which we live is not conducive to defending democratic standards or extending democracy’s reach across the globe.
“The latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index reflects the situation in 2015, a year in which democracy was tested in the face of war, terrorism, mass migration and other crises, and, in some cases, suffered serious setbacks. In our age of anxiety, the first casualty of fear and insecurity is often freedom.”
Almost one-half of the world’s countries can be considered to be democracies, but, as reflected in the democracy index, the number of “full democracies” is low, at only 20 countries; 59 countries were rated as “flawed democracies”.
Of the remaining 88 countries in the index, 51 were classed as “authoritarian” and 37, including Bangladesh, were considered to be “hybrid regimes”.
Most “full democracies” are in western Europe. The list of full democracies includes two Asian countries, South Korea and Japan, one Latin American country Uruguay and one African country Mauritius.
“Flawed democracies” are concentrated in Latin America, eastern Europe and Asia.
“Authoritarian regimes” are concentrated in Africa, the Middle East and the CIS countries of eastern Europe. Around 2.6bn people, more than one-third of the world’s population, live under authoritarian rule [with a large share being, of course, in China].
According to Joan Hoey, editor of the report: “An increased sense of anxiety and insecurity in the face of diverse perceived risks and threats – economic, political, social and security – is undermining democracy.
“Defending democracy means upholding liberty, equality, tolerance and free expression, promoting a democratic political culture and fostering democratic institutions.”
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the world’s leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies, government agencies, financial institutions and academic organisations around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence since 1946.
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The EIU is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in more than 40 cities and a network of some 650 country experts and analysts worldwide. It operates independently as the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs.