The 2020 result represents a significant deterioration mostly brought about by government-imposed restrictions on individual freedoms and civil liberties that occurred across the globe in response to the pandemic, the report said Bangladesh made a ‘marginal’ improvement in terms of upholding democratic norms which pushed its overall score up to 5.99 to rank 76th on Democracy Index 2020, from 80th place with a score of 5.88 a year ago, the bdnews24 reported.
The South Asian nation, however, is still classified as a hybrid regime and lags behind neighbouring India, which slipped two places to 53 with an overall score of 6.61 as a result of democratic backsliding under the leadership of Narendra Modi, according to the EIU.
The increasing influence of religion under the Modi premiership, whose policies have fomented anti-Muslim feeling and religious strife, has damaged the political fabric of the country while the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 continued to fuel riots in 2020, the report said.
However, one of the biggest country downgrades involved Myanmar which fell down the global rankings by 13 spots to 135 as a result of ‘mass voter suppression’, particularly in the volatile Rakhine state, during the November 2020 elections.
In 2020, the regional score deteriorated to its lowest level since 2013 as official measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic led to some of the most severe constraints on individual freedoms and civil liberties in the world.
China, Singapore, South Korea and others went much further than the rest of the world in tracking and policing their citizens and locking them down in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, more than half of the countries in the region recorded a fall in their total score.
Meanwhile, the US’ performance across several indicators changed in 2020, with the negatives outweighing the positives, as the country, which ranks 25th, retained its “flawed democracy” status. Increased political participation was the main positive stemming from the politicisation of the coronavirus pandemic, movements to address police violence and racial injustice, and elections that attracted record voter turnout.
Meanwhile, the biggest winner in this year’s Democracy Index, measured by the change in both its score and rank, is Taiwan, which was upgraded from a “flawed democracy” to a “full democracy”, after rising 20 places in the global ranking from 31st place to 11th.
In western Europe, France and Portugal moved from the “full democracy” category to the “flawed democracy” one, with only three countries — Italy, Turkey and the UK – improving their scores in 2020.
Norway retained the top spot in the 2020 Index while North Korea remained at the bottom.
The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. Based on its scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” or “authoritarian regime”.