The Democracy Index, compiled by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit, is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.
The top five democratic countries in the world are Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and New Zealand. North Korea comes last among the 167 countries covered by the index.
Sri Lanka has been ranked 89 in the list of top democracies. But it comes better off than most of its neighbours: Bhutan 107, Pakistan 108, Nepal 111 and Afghanistan 152. China is ranked 142. Only India ranked 38 and Bangladesh ranked 84 feature above Sri Lanka in the Asian region.
Although almost one-half of the world’s countries can be considered to be democracies, in the Democracy Index the number of “full democracies” is 25 countries; 54 countries are rated as flawed democracies.
Developed countries dominate among full democracies; only two Asian countries — Japan and South Korea — are ranked among them.
Slightly less than one-half of the world’s population lives in a democracy of some sort; only 11% reside in full democracies. About 2.6 billion people, more than one-third of the world’s population, lives under authoritarian rule (with a large share being, of course, in China).
The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracies category. The US democracy has been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene, and political brinkmanship and paralysis. The UK is beset by a deep institutional crisis.
Top 10 democracies
10 worst democracies
North Korea (rank 167)
Guinea Bissau (rank 166)
Overall democracy score out of 10 among Asian countries
Sri Lanka 5.75