Cyprus has yet to wiggle out of the “flawed democracies” category, ranked 37 out of 167 countries on the Democracy Index 2021 issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Scoring 7.43 out of 10, lower than 2020 (7.56), Cyprus not only failed to move into the top group of democratic countries but has recorded its worst performance in the past seven years.
According to EUI’s 2021 Democracy Index, 74 of the 167 countries and territories covered, or 44.3% of the total, are considered democracies.
The number of “full democracies” fell to 21, down from 23 in 2020, “flawed democracies” increased by one to 53.
Of the remaining 93 countries in the index, 59 are “authoritarian regimes”, up from 57 in 2020, and 34 are classified as “hybrid regimes”, down from 35 in 2020.
The Democracy Index, which began in 2006, provides a snapshot of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.
Cyprus is next to last of the 21 countries slotted in the Western Europe category in terms of regional ranking. It fell to 37 from 35 the year before.
Only Turkey is below Cyprus, coming in 21 and dubbed a “hybrid democracy” somewhere between a democracy and an authoritarian state.
Greece scored an overall score of 7.56 and is ranked 34, and it is included in the “flawed democracies”.
Cyprus is described as a flawed democracy with another seven countries, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Greece, and Belgium.
The number of countries in the European periphery with full democracy has decreased to 12, from 13 in 2020, with Spain downgraded to a flawed democracy.
The report accompanying the index notes that there is free and fair access to elections in Cyprus, despite identifying issues, such as interference with media freedom, while basic political freedoms are respected.
However, as it notes, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems with governance, an underdeveloped political culture, and low levels of political participation.
The index takes into consideration performances in several areas.
Cyprus recorded 9.17 out of 10 for the electoral process and pluralism, 8.53 for civil liberties and 7.22 for political participation.
The lowest score was recorded in political culture and government operation, with Cyprus scoring 6.88 and 5.36, respectively.
Argentina, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Lesotho, and Thailand have the lowest ratings in terms of government performance in the category of “flawed democracies”.
According to the EIU, most countries recorded a decline in their average score or remained stagnant in 2021, with only 47 (28.1%) improving.
At the same time, a total of 74 of the 167 countries included in the index (44.3%) recorded a decrease in their overall score compared to 2020.