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Politics News

Democracy at a crossroad

New study on the state of global democracy suggests that global democracy is at a crossroad and continuous actions must be taken to safeguard and protect it. In its first edition of The Global State of Democracy publication from The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), which was launched in Stockholm on Wednesday November 15, finds that the world has experienced continued and steep democratic progress, however this progress has slowed down over the past decade, with challenges and threats emerging in specific countries and regions.

International IDEA’s The Global State of Democracy publication, based on the new Global State of Democracy indices, highlights that almost all aspects of democracy have advanced over the past four decades:

It says most electoral democracies established in this period survived, and the number and proportion of countries holding elections have increased.
“Governments are now more representative of (and responsive to) their constituencies, more countries respect the fundamental rights of their citizens, and social rights and equality feature sharp improvements, the report continues.

It said more importantly, governments are more constrained by checks from parliaments, the judiciary and the media, while the value people give to democracy is strengthened when democratic backsliding occurs. The most difficult aspects for democracies to tackle are corruption and rule of law, which have not improved since 1975.

“We see the challenges to our democracy in our daily news. There are cases of national leaders attempting to retain power beyond constitutional limits, attacks on human rights, the rollback of civil liberties and freedom of the press, and the rise of populism.”, said Yves Leterme, International IDEA Secretary-General. “International IDEA is concerned about the rise of challenges to democracy. Our role—every citizen’s role—is to protect democracy.”

The first edition of The Global State of Democracy publication analyses and assesses emerging challenges and threats. It is based on a new set of indices that collect data on key attributes of democracy across 155 countries from 1975 to 2015. The starting point of 1975 coincides with the ratification of the United Nations Conventions on Civil and Political Rights as well as Economic and Social Rights and the so-called ‘Third Wave of Democracy’. Zooming-in on some of the most pressing crises for democracy today, the publication provides insights into the future of political parties and representation, corruption and money in politics, inequality, migration, and post-conflict peace building. The publication provides actionable recommendations for citizens, politicians and technocrats worldwide in their efforts to combat these threats.-Press release

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