In this Jan. 10, 2020 photo, protesters call for peace in the Middle East amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States.
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Philippines down one spot in democracy index
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - January 22, 2020 - 10:49am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines slid down one spot to the 54th place in the world on the Ecomomist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Democracy Index for 2019.

The country previously ranked 53rd (6.71 points) in 2018 and 51st (6.71 points) in 2017. The Philippines is among 68 countries that experienced a decline in their total score compared with 2018.

The London-based think tank labelled the country's regime type as a "flawed democracy" with an overall score of 6.64 points.

The EIU defined flawed democracies as countries that "have free and fair elections, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected."

The Philippines registered its highest score in electoral process and pluralism with 9.17. The country also scored 7.22 in political participation and 7.06 in civil liberties.

The country scored the lowest in political culture with 4.38 and functioning of government with 5.36.

Norway topped the global rankings with an overall score of 9.87, followed by Iceland with 9.58, Sweden with 9.39, New Zealand with 9.26 and Finland with 9.25.

The Philippines, however, ranked 9th in the Asia and Australasia region, which has an average score of 5.67.

The report noted that the Asia and Australasia region has made progress in improving its standing in the democracy index but continues to lag behind North America (8.59), western Europe (8.35) and Latin America (6.13).

New Zealand (9.26) and Australia (9.09) topped the regional rankings as they are the only countries with a "full democracy" in the group.

Full democracies were described as countries "in which not only basic political freedoms and civil liberties are respected, but which also tend to be underpinned by a political culture conducive to the flourishing of democracy."

Also in the top five are South Korea (8.00), Japan (7.99) and Taiwan (7.73), which were also considered as countries with flawed democracy.

The think tank noted that the average global score for democracy fell from 5.48 in 2018 to 5.44 in 2019, the worst since the index first came out in 2006.

"The decline in the average global score in 2019 was driven by a sharp regression in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, a lesser one in the Middle East and North Africa region, and by stagnation in the remaining four regions covered by the Democracy Index," the report read.

The democracy index was based on the ratings for 60 indicators, which were grouped into five categories — electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

"The condition of holding free and fair competitive elections, and satisfying related aspects of political freedom, is clearly the sine qua non of all definitions," the EIU said.

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