The wave of autocratization experienced in recent years continues to advance and the gains in global levels of democracy of the last 35 years have been washed away. This will be warned this week by a report from the Swedish V-Dem institute at the University of Gothenburg.
The study, entitled «Challenges against autocratization», ensures that 72% of the world population lives in autocracies, up from 46% in 2012, and that, for the first time in two decades, there are more closed autocracies than liberal democracies.
The report also indicates that freedom of expression deteriorated in 35 countries last year and that government censorship of the media worsened by 47.
Thirty countries experienced a setback in the quality of their elections and in 37 the repression of the authorities against civil society increased.
While only 14 countries, with 2% of the world’s population, recorded democratic gains, the lowest number since 1973, and 42 countries, in which 43% of the population of the entire planet lives, suffered the opposite process.
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44% of the planet (some 3.5 billion people) now reside in electoral autocracies and 28% in closed autocracies.
Although electoral democracies are the most common regime in the world, with 58 countries, they only comprise 16% of the global population.
The number of autocratic countries also represents 46% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), the report explains.
«What is remarkable about the progress of the wave of autocratization is that not only democratic countries such as Brazil, Ghana, Greece, Poland or the United States are submerged in autocratization. This often goes beyond the weakening of democracy to deepen even more in countries like El Salvador, Hungary or India,» the report writes.
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The report by countries
As in recent years, The Nordic countries are at the top of the ranking of democratic countriesestablished from an index, with a maximum value of 1 that includes aspects such as freedom of expression and association, electoral quality and other elements.
Denmark occupies the first position with 0.89, slightly ahead of Sweden and Norway.
And although the wave of autocratization affects all the continents, it is most serious in Asia-Pacific. In fact, among the autocracies that have worsened, the V-Dem mentions Burkina Faso, the Philippines and Russia.
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In the case of America, the report indicates that in the last decade three Latin American countries have improved their values in the democratic index: the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Honduras.
However, eight have suffered autocratizing tendencies: this is the case of Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Haiti, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Venezuela and El Salvador.
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In the latter country, «attacks» on media freedom and journalists have intensified, says the report, which no longer considers it a democracy.
Guatemala, for example, has become an electoral autocracy, due to “attacks” on the judicial system and investigations into corruption cases have been “undermined”.
Created in 2014 and linked to the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the V-Dem produces an annual democratic index and other reports and databases that are used by international organizations such as the World Bank, the European Commission and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).