Georgia's Position Worsens in EIU's Democratic Index Report

The Economist Intelligence Unit (the EIU), which is the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper, released its 2018 Democratic Index Report, where Georgia’s position has dropped by 5.50 points compared to 2017.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. This covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s states.

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 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” and “authoritarian regime”.

The report reads that Georgia’s fall, 5.50 down from 5.93 in 2017, was the steepest in the entire region. The country is in the category of “hybrid regime.”

The index underlines that Georgia’s billionaire former Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, returned to politics in May, resumed leadership of the ruling party, Georgian Dream (GD), and despite not holding an elected office, “redirected government policy. “

“The Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, resigned in June, citing his disagreements with Mr. Ivanishvili, rather than widespread popular discontent with the government, as the key factor in his decision. Under Mr Ivanishvili’s influence, the government also intervened in the second-round presidential election, offering a debt write-off to 600,000 citizens two weeks after the election day. This appeared to provide the government with a sizeable campaigning advantage over the opposition,” the report stressed.

The index added that in comparison to Georgia, Armenia saw the most improvement among all “hybrid regime” countries in Eastern Europe in 2018, raising its score to 4.79, from 4.11 in 2017. This led to a jump in its ranking from 111 to 103.

This is the 11th edition of the Democracy Index, which began in 2006. It records how global democracy fared in 2018.

The report says that for the first time in three years, the global score for democracy remained stable. According to it, a total of 42 countries experienced a decline in their total score compared with 2017; 48 registered an increase in total score. But as a percentage of the world’s population, fewer people lived in some form of democracy (47.7%, compared with 49.3% in 2017). Very few of these (4.5%) were classified as living in a full democracy. Around one-third of the population lived under authoritarian rule, with a large share represented by China.

By Thea Morrison

Image source: Economist Intelligence Unit

10 January 2019 16:35