Bulgaria is 53rd out of 167 Countries in Terms of Democracy
According to the 2021 Democracy Index, our country ranks 53rd in terms of a democratic society, 10 points ahead of Serbia and 20 points ahead of North Macedonia.
According to the latest edition of the Democracy Index (EIU) for 2021, published by The Economist, global democracy has continued to decline rapidly. The annual survey, which assesses the state of democracy in 167 countries on the basis of five indicators - electoral process and pluralism, government functioning, political participation, democratic political culture and civil liberties - finds that more than a third of the world's population lives under authoritarianism and only 6.4% enjoy full democracy. The global assessment of the development of democracy in the world fell from an average of 5.37 to a new low of 5.28 out of ten possible. The only such decline since 2006 was in 2010 after the global financial crisis. This index for Bulgaria is 6.64. Only Greece has better indicators on our side in the Balkans, ranked 34th with an index of 7.56.
For the second year in a row, the pandemic is the biggest source of pressure on democratic freedom in the world. Through localization and travel restrictions, civil liberties were again suspended in both developed democracies and authoritarian regimes. Many, but not all, citizens tolerated emergency rules and the expansion of state powers. The divisions between those who support precautionary policies, such as blocking access to the Internet and compulsory vaccines, and those who are hostile to state intervention and any restriction of personal freedoms are growing.
The Nordic countries continue to dominate the list, with three Asian countries occupying the last places: North Korea was pushed from the bottom of the list for the first time due to the coup in Myanmar and the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan. The coups also returned to Africa. But it was Latin America that saw the sharpest decline in 2021, as measured by the index. The region's weak commitment to democracy allowed illiberal populists to thrive, and a busy election calendar did not always support the cause of democracy. Pedro Castillo's small victory in Peru in June was contested for weeks by his opponent Keiko Fujimori, and Nicaragua's election in November was rigged. Chile has been downgraded to a “fake democracy”, in part because of low turnout in highly polarized elections, and Haiti is still in a political crisis following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
North America performed a little better. Despite the Capitol riots and attempts by outgoing President Donald Trump to overturn the election results, Joe Biden's inauguration went smoothly and America's Democratic Index fell just 0.07 points. Canada suffered a much larger drop of 0.37 points. Again, pandemic restrictions were the main cause of frustration and discontent. According to the World Values Survey, which is used in some of the quantitative sections of the EIU survey, only 10.4% of Canadians believe they have “significant” freedom of choice and control. Even more worrying is that 13.5% express a preference for military rule.
The EIU report identifies a number of threats to democracy in 2022 and beyond. The decline in Canada's index reflects public dissatisfaction with the status quo and the turn to undemocratic alternatives. The truck blockade in Ottawa could herald more political turmoil. But the biggest challenge for the Western model of democracy in the coming years will come from China. After four decades of rapid growth, it is the world's second-largest economy; according to EIU forecasts, it will overtake America in a decade. Judging by China's absence from the recent Democracy Summit hosted by Joe Biden, the West is reluctant to dialogue and seek Beijing's commitment. China has responded by omitting the state of American democracy as “catastrophic”.
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