Taiwan ranked as top 'full democracy' in Asia, 8th globally

02/10/2022 10:36 PM
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A group of people take a selfie photo with the Republic of China (Taiwan) flag. CNA file photo
A group of people take a selfie photo with the Republic of China (Taiwan) flag. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Taiwan has been ranked as the No. 1 "full democracy" in Asia, jumping three places in the 2021 Democracy Index rankings from the previous year, according to a report released Thursday by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Globally, Taiwan has climbed to 8th position, from 11th in 2020, scoring 8.99 out of 10, the EIU report showed.

Regionally, Taiwan was the top ranked "full democracy," ahead of Japan and South Korea.

"Asia and Australasia have five 'full democracies,' including three Asian ones (Japan, South Korea and Taiwan), alongside Australia and New Zealand," the report said.

The index is based on five categories -- electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture -- and assesses the state of democracy in 167 countries and regions worldwide.

Based on a range of indicators, each country is given an overall score out of a maximum 10 and is classified as either a "full democracy," "flawed democracy," "hybrid regime," or "authoritarian regime."

According to the EIU, the developed countries of Western Europe continued to dominate globally in 2021, with 12 of the total 21 ranked as "full democracies."

The EIU report showed that Taiwan was the only country in Asia listed in the top 10 worldwide, while Norway topped the global rankings with a score of 9.75, followed by New Zealand (9.37), Finland (9.27), Sweden (9.26), Iceland (9.18), Denmark (9.09) and Ireland (9.00).

EIU video

Australia and Switzerland were tied in ninth place with a score of 8.90, ahead of the Netherlands (8.88), Canada (8.87), Uruguay (8.85), Luxembourg (8.68) and Germany (8.67), which were ranked 11th to 15th.

Meanwhile, the United States was ranked 26th and classified as a "flawed democracy."

In the 2021 index, the EIU also noted that the number of "full democracies" fell from 13 in 2020 to 12 in 2021, with Spain, ranked 24th, slipping into the ranks of "flawed democracies."

At the bottom of the rankings were North Korea, Myanmar and Afghanistan, placing 165th to 167th.

Similar to last year, the report touched on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on democracy and freedom around the world.

"The pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented withdrawal of civil liberties among developed democracies and authoritarian regimes alike, through the imposition of lockdowns and restrictions on travelling and, increasingly, the introduction of 'green passes' requiring proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for participation in public life," it said.

The EIU's first Democracy Index report was issued in 2006.

(By Tsao Yu-fan and Ko Lin)

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