EIU Democracy Index 2011:Democracy in Bangladesh stagnating

Three years into the re-establishment of  democracy in Bangladesh, the continuous process of democratization is stagnating in Bangladesh, according to the results of a report by the
Economist Intelligence Unit, a think-tank affiliated with The Economist.

The latest edition of EIU’s Democracy Index, that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, sees Bangladesh hold on to its ranking at number 83, with only a minimal improvement in its index score, from the previous edition. The index is based on a set of 60
indicators grouped into five different categories, that combine to give a score out of 10 for each country.

Based on the score attained in the index, countries are put into one of four categories: full democracies (those scoring between 8-10), flawed democracies (6-7.9), hybrid regimes (4-5.9), and authoritarian regimes (below 4).

The 2010 report saw Bangladesh jump up 8 places from its previous edition, which had come out in 2008, with a score of 5.86. Somewhat disappointingly, the country’s score has moved just a tick in the 2011 edition, to 5.87. That means it has failed to move out of the bracket for hybrid regimes, as classified by EIU.

The ranking at number 83 puts Bangladesh ahead of a clutch of countries like Bolivia, Turkey and Lebanon, and just behind a pack containing Singapore, Ukraine, and Ghana.

Regionally, Bangladesh’s position compares favorably its neighbors; only India and Sri Lanka, at number 39 and 57 respectively, are ranked higher. The likes of Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal languish outside the top 100, with Bhutan highest at 104 with a score of 4.57.

The white paper accompanying this year’s index is titled “Democracy under stress” to capture a year in which some Arab nations abandoned authoritarian regimes, yet the average democracy score in the index declined, including in North America and Western Europe, usually
considered to be the bastions of democracy.

Possibly the most perceptive observation in the report is that economic crisis is “subtly eroding democracy” in even advanced nations, as evidenced by the resignations of the elected Italian and Greek prime ministers in the aftermath of the crisis engulfing the Eurozone.

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