Every year, the Institute for Types of Democracy at the University of Gothenburg measures the state of democracy in the world. In recent years, we have seen a decline as more and more people live under dictatorial regimes and more and more countries experience a decline in democracy. This year’s report shows that the world has not been more anti-democratic in 35 years.
– The level of democracy for the average world citizen in 2022 is back to the level of 1986. This means that 72 percent of the world’s population, 5.7 billion people, live under authoritarian rule, says Professor Staffan I. Lindberg, director of the V-Dem Institute at press release.
Democracy is in decline particularly in the Pacific region, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Authoritarianism, as it is called, is generally unleashed when authoritarian movements gain direct influence over government policy, according to researchers, with the dismantling of free media, civil society, independent organizations, and the judiciary.
There are some flashes of light
For the first time in two decades, the world now has more dictatorships than liberal democracies. Today, 2.2 billion people live under pure dictatorships, compared to 1 billion people living in liberal democracies.
But there are also countries emerging from long periods of democratic disintegration, according to the report: Bolivia, Moldova, Ecuador, Maldives, North Macedonia, Slovenia, South Korea and Zambia.
The fact that eight countries are transitioning from authoritarian regimes to democracies is gratifying for democracy. It is rare to see countries return to democratic rule. What the countries have succeeded in, among other things, is bringing about a pro-democracy mobilization, re-establishing an independent legal system, overthrowing authoritarian leaders, introducing free and fair elections, working to reduce corruption and, most recently, having a well-functioning civil society. Just some of the components that we Swedes believe democracy should contain, says Staffan Lindberg.
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