Friday, November 24, 2006

Greece only SEE country listed as "full democracy" in Economist index

A new Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 167 countries places Greece among the world's 28 "full democracies" and seven other Southeast European countries in the group of "flawed democracies". Three other countries in the region are seen as "hybrid regimes".

Greece is the only Southeast European (SEE) country included in the group of the most democratic nations in the world, according to a new survey released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) this week.

Ranking 22nd among the surveyed 165 countries and two territories, Greece is classified as a "full democracy," along with 27 other nations. The rest of the countries fall into one of other three groups listed in the EIU democracy index -- "flawed democracies," "hybrid regimes" and "authoritarian regimes".

The index is based on the scores the countries are given for 60 indicators across five broad categories: electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

For each of these categories, the surveyed nations are given scores from 0 to 10. The overall index of democracy is the simple average of the five category indexes. Almost without exception, the SEE countries' best scores are for the electoral process and pluralism and civil liberties categories.

With an overall score of 9.88 and marks of 10.00 in four of the five categories, Sweden is the highest-ranked nation in the table.

Greece's overall score of 8.13 places it behind Belgium and Japan, which share the 20th position and ahead of Britain and France, ranked 23rd and 24th, respectively. Its best marks are for electoral process and pluralism (9.58), and civil liberties (9.41), while its lowest (6.67) is for political participation.

Most of the other countries in the region are categorised in the second grouping, "flawed democracies". Leading them is Cyprus, which joined the EUin May 2004 along with Poland and eight other Central and East European countries. It shares 36th position with Botswana on the basis of an overall score of 7.60.

Like Greece and most of the other SEE countries, it has been given its highest marks for electoral process and for pluralism and civil liberties -- 9.17 and 9.12, respectively. Cyprus's lowest score of 6.25 is for political culture.

Six other SEE countries -- Bulgaria (49th), Romania (50th), Croatia (51st), Serbia (55th), Montenegro (58th) and FYROMacedonia (68th) -- also fall in the "flawed democracies" group.
Bulgaria's overall score of 7.60 is only 0.04 points better than that of its northern neighbour, Romania. The two countries, which will join the EU on January 1st, are given the same marks of 9.58 and 8.53 for electoral process and for pluralism and civil liberties. Both also got their lowest mark of 5.00 for political culture.

Although scoring slightly better than Bulgaria and Romania in this specific category, Croatia, which has an overall score of 7.04, also got its worst mark (5.63) for political culture.
Serbia and Montenegro are given overall scores of 6.62 and 6.57, respectively. They have the same best mark of 9.17 for electoral process and pluralism and the same worst mark of 5.00 for political participation.

FYROMacedonia has an overall score of 6.33. Its lowest mark of 3.75 is for political culture.

Ranked 83rd, 87th and 88th, respectively, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey are in the 30-nation "hybrid regimes" group. Their overall scores range from 5.91 points for Albania to 5.78 for BiH and 5.70 for Turkey. Their highest marks are for electoral process and pluralism. Albania's worst mark of 4.44 is for political participation, while BiH's lowest score of 3.29 is for functioning of government. Turkey's lowest mark of 3.75 is for political culture.

South East European Times

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