Thailand's 'flawed democracy' ranks 72 out of 167 countries - index

Thailand's 'flawed democracy' ranks 72 out of 167 countries - index

FILE PHOTO: Police line up outside Government House as protesters from Songkhla province hold a rally demanding authorities halt an industrial park development they say means expropriation of their land and threatens the environment, in Bangkok on Dec 13, 2021. Thailand is still a “flawed democracy” and ranks 72 out of 167 countries, the same level as the year before, according to The Economist’s
FILE PHOTO: Police line up outside Government House as protesters from Songkhla province hold a rally demanding authorities halt an industrial park development they say means expropriation of their land and threatens the environment, in Bangkok on Dec 13, 2021. Thailand is still a “flawed democracy” and ranks 72 out of 167 countries, the same level as the year before, according to The Economist’s "Democracy Index 2021". (AFP)

Thailand is still a “flawed democracy” and ranks 72 out of 167 countries, the same level as the year before, according to The Economist’s "Democracy Index 2021".

The kingdom ranked below Malaysia (39), Indonesia (52), the Philippines (54) and Singapore (66), but above Vietnam (131), Cambodia (134) and Myanmar (now second to bottom, below North Korea and above only Afghanistan). 

The five most democratic countries in the world, the report said, are Norway, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which produces the index, said it is based on 60 indicators and places countries into four categories: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes

Democratic standards across the world fell again in 2021 amid the pandemic and growing support for authoritarianism to leave just over 45% of the world's population living in a democracy, the EIU said.

As in 2020, less than half of the world's population is living in a democracy but the trend has deteriorated further, the London-based analysis group said.

Its annual democracy Index "sheds light on continued challenges to democracy worldwide, under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and increasing support for authoritarian alternatives," the group said.

Its annual index, which provides a measurement of the state of global democracy, registered its biggest fall since 2010 and set "another dismal record" for the worst global score since the index was first produced in 2006.

In Europe, Spain was downgraded to a "flawed democracy", reflecting a deterioration in its score for judicial independence.

The EIU said the UK also dropped in the ranking following controversies over party financing and a series of scandals, but remains a "full democracy".

Less than half -- 45.7% -- of the world's population now live in a democracy of some sort, a significant decline from 2020 where the figure was 49.4%.

Even fewer -- 6.4% -- reside in a "full democracy" after Chile and Spain were downgraded to "flawed democracies". Spain's downgrade reflects a deterioration in its score for judicial independence, it said.

More than a third of the world's population live under authoritarian rule, a large proportion of which are in China.

"China has not become more democratic as it has become richer. On the contrary, it has become less free," the EIU said.

Along with Tunisia, Myanmar and Afghanistan recorded the biggest declines in the index following the military coup and Taliban takeover in those countries.

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