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Democracy Report 2022

  Apr 08, 2022

Democracy Report 2022

Q What is the context  ?

A A Sweden-based institute has said that India is no longer an ‘electoral democracy’, classifying the country as an ‘electoral autocracy’ instead.

Q What are some details about the report ?

  • The study, titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’ states that more than twice as many countries are undergoing Autocratisation as are witnessing democratization.
  • The conceptual scheme takes into account not only the electoral dimension (free and fair elections) but also the liberal principle that democracy must protect “individual and minority rights”.
  • The V-Dem report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI):
  1. Liberal Democracy
  2. Electoral Democracy
  3. Electoral Autocracy and
  4. Closed Autocracy

Q What is the report’s methodology?

  • Since key features of democracy, such as, judicial independence, are not directly measurable, and to rule out distortions due to subjective judgments, V-Dem uses aggregate expert judgments.
  • It gathers data from a pool of over 3,700 experts worldwide who provide judgments on different concepts and cases.
  • Leveraging the diverse opinions, the V-Dem’s measurement model algorithmically.

Q What is the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI) ?

  • The LDI captures both liberal and electoral aspects of a democracy based on 71 indicators that make up the:
  1. Liberal Component Index (LCI): It measures aspects such as protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive.
  2. Electoral Democracy Index (EDI): It considers indicators that guarantee free and fair elections such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.
  • In addition, the LDI also uses:
  1. Egalitarian Component Index (to what extent different social groups are equal)
  2. Participatory Component Index (health of citizen groups, civil society organisations) and
  3. Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are taken through public reasoning focused on common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, coercion)

Q What are key highlights of the report ?

  • The democratic gains of the post-Cold War period are eroding rapidly in the last few years.
  • Autocratisation is spreading rapidly, with a record of 33 countries autocratising.
  • The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels.
  • While Sweden topped the LDI index, other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway, along with Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top five in liberal democracy rankings.

Q What does the report say about India?

  • India is one of the top ten ‘autocratisers’ in the world says the report.
  • The report classifies India as an autocracy (‘electoral autocracy’) rather than a democracy, ranking it 93rd on the liberal democracy index, out of 179 countries.
  • The report notes that India is part of a broader global trend of an anti-plural political party driving a country’s Autocratisation.
  • Ranked 93rd in the LDI, India figures in the “bottom 50%” of countries.
  • It has slipped further down in the Electoral Democracy Index, to 100, and even lower in the Deliberative Component Index, at 102.
  • In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), and Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.

Q What are concerns raised by the report ?

  • (Communal) Polarisation: The report also points out that “toxic levels of polarisation contribute to electoral victories of anti-pluralist leaders and the empowerment of their autocratic agendas”.
  • Rise of political hate speeches: The report states that measures of polarisation of society, political polarisation, and political parties’ use of hate speech tend to systematically rise together to extreme levels.
  • Misinformation as a policy tool: The report identified “misinformation” as a key tool deployed by autocratising governments to sharpen polarisation and shape domestic and international opinion.
  • Repression of civil society and censorship of media: These were other favored tools of autocratising regimes.
  • Declining autonomy of Election bodies: The report also found that decisive autonomy for the electoral management body (EMB) deteriorated in 25 countries.