Govt more democratic this year, survey finds

Govt more democratic this year, survey finds

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri (Government House photo)
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri (Government House photo)

The government is delighted with a new Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report that Thailand's ranking on a democracy index has improved more than any other country in the world over the past year, says government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri.

Mr Anucha, who is also deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, said the EIU's democracy index for 2022 increased Thailand's score to 6.67 from 6.04 in 2021, raising the country's position from 72nd to 55th in the global ranking of 167 countries.

The index was initiated in 2006 based on the EIU's analysis of five key areas, including electoral processes, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties, in which Thailand scored 7.42, 6.07, 8.33, 5.63 and 5.88, respectively.

When compared to countries in the Asean region, Thailand ranked 4th behind Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia, which placed 40th, 52nd and 54th, respectively, in the global ranking, Mr Anucha said.

However, Thailand recorded the biggest overall score improvement in 2022 with an increase of 0.62 from 2021, he said.

The jump was attributed to the greater thought space afforded to the country's opposition parties, which included more participation and a reduced threat from secessionist movements.

"The result of the recent democracy index is a reflection of the government's determination to improve democracy in the country to ensure everything is in line with democratic procedures," Mr Anucha said.

"The government is ready to work to elevate people's quality of life, together with restoring the economy for sustainable development."

According to ABC News, the EIU report showed Thailand still had some way to go in improving democracy because the government had command of the security apparatus and judiciary, despite the overall improvement in its place on the index.

Political parties in Thailand seeking to form a coalition government after the 2023 election will also need to win the support of the military. Thailand is categorised as a flawed democracy from four regime types in the democratic rankings.

The four regime types comprise full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, and authoritarian regimes. Of the 28 countries in Asia, nine improved their scores, seven did not change and 12 recorded a decline last year.

Covid lockdowns in China and the military coup in Myanmar resulted in those countries recording a slide in their position. Some of the worst performers in the world were in Asia: Afghanistan, Myanmar and North Korea were the lowest-ranked countries, the report said.

Norway maintained the top spot as it ranked highly in all five categories.

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