On January 31, 2018 an influential British research and consulting firm Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released its annual report on democracy. The Democracy Index-2017 report provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories over the past year.
The report gives each country a 0 to 10 score based on concrete indicators (electoral processes and pluralism; civil liberties; functioning of government; political participation; and political culture), with 0 being negative and 10 positive. According to the report, based on their management systems the countries are classified into four main groups: full democracies (8-10), flawed democracies (6-8), hybrid regimes (4-6), and authoritarian regimes (0-4). In 2017 Armenia was ranked among countries with hybrid regimes, while in 2016 it was among the authoritarian regimes.
The improvement of Armenia’s position is substantiated by the fact that Armenia has transitioned from the presidential system to a parliamentarian. At the same time, Armenia ranks 111th among 165 countries, ranked between Pakistan (110th) and Iraq (112th). That is to say, according to Economist Intelligence Unit, Pakistan is more democratic than Armenia. Moreover, Nicaragua, Thailand, Palestine and Niger are also more democratic than Armenia.
On the verge of authoritarian regime
Although Armenia was not ranked among the countries with authoritarian regimes, nevertheless, according to the report, in 2017 the total score of Armenia was 4.11, whereas in case of 0-4 points, the country is considered an authoritarian regime. In 2016 Armenia’s total score was 3.88, consequently due to 0.11 points this year we are not included in the list of authoritarian regimes. The total score of Armenia’s democracy has been formed from the combination of the following sub-scores:
Thus, the functioning of the Armenian government and the political culture have indicators of an authoritarian state. Fortunately, the other three indicators allow us to be a little more democratic than Iraq. It is noteworthy that the functioning of the government of Saudi Arabia, one of the least democratic states in the world, has also been rated 2.86 points. Laos also has the same scores.
At the same time, Moldova (78th place), Georgia (79th), and Ukraine (83rd) are in a better position than Armenia, while Belarus (138th) and Azerbaijan (148th) ranked worse. Moreover, unlike Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine and Armenia, that are considered hybrid regimes, Belarus and Azerbaijan have authoritarian regimes.
It is noteworthy that among the Eurasian Economic Union(EEU) countries only Kyrgyzstan is considered a hybrid regime and ranks higher than Armenia with a total score of 5.11. All the other EEU member states – Russia (3.17 total score), Belarus (3.13) and Kazakhstan (3.06) are among authoritarian regimes, ranked 135th, 138th and 141th respectively.
Thus, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, Armenia has recorded a little democratic progress this year, but has not yet reached the level of democracy in Pakistan, while the functioning of the Armenian government has been valued as equivalent to that of Saudi Arabia.
“Union of Informed Citizens”