The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has just released its annual democracy index,

Australia and New Zealand are the only “full democracies” in the entire Asia-Pacific region, while the United States is among those that couldn’t find its way into the top category.

There are also eight countries (Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, North Korea, Laos, Nepal and Sri Lanka) whose full titles include the word “democratic”, but the EIU says not one of these countries is actually fully democratic.

The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on 60 indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: full democracy; flawed democracy; hybrid regime; and authoritarian regime.

India is ranked at 41 – a notch above last year. It is still classified as a ‘flawed democracy’ according to the index. India achieved a score of 7.23 on the index to maintain its position – the same it did last year. This is the lowest ever score attributed to India in the index ever since its publication.

India ranks below the US (ranked 25th in the index) and other so-called ‘flawed democracies’ like Italy, France, Botswana, and South Africa.

The report defines a flawed democracy as nations that “have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.”

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