Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Some Hope for Democracy

Across the world, democratic norms are eroding. Symptoms include curbs on freedom of speech, declining trust in institutions, a drop in popularity of mainstream political parties and erosion of civil liberties.

The world's most democratic countries now include Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Finland and Switzerland.

European countries — such as Britain and Germany — round out the list of "full" democracies.

Only one country from the developing world, Uruguay, is represented.

Among the world's most authoritarian places are North Korea, Syria, Congo and Chad.

Spain suffered as a result of its attempt to stop Catalonia's independence referendum by shuttering polling stations, closing down websites and policing voters.

In Eastern Europe, most countries performed even worse on the democracy index than usual, thanks to the consolidation of strongmen under Trump and Putin.

"If 2016 was notable for the populist insurgency against mainstream political parties and politicians in the developed democracies of Europe and North America," they write, "2017 was defined by a backlash against populism."

Examples include: a grass-roots effort to reverse Brexit and growing opposition to Trump.

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