News ID: 109612
Publish Date : 30 November 2022 - 21:41

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Half the world’s democratic countries are experiencing an erosion of democracy, intensified by war in Ukraine and economic crisis, an international think tank said in a report on Wednesday.
“We’re seeing extraordinarily severe headwinds for democracy now, intensified by the political fallout from the economic crisis that started with the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine”, International IDEA secretary-general Kevin Casas-Zamora told AFP.
“It might be that the credibility of elections is challenged. It might be that the rule of law is under assault. It might be that civic space is being constrained”, he explained.
The number of democracies with the most severe democratic erosion -- a group dubbed “backsliding” countries which has included the United States since last year -- increased from six to seven in 2022 with the addition of El Salvador to the list.
The others are Brazil, Hungary, India, Mauritius and Poland.
Casas-Zamora singled out the U.S. as particularly worrying.
“I’m very concerned by what we’re seeing in the United States”, he said.
The country faces political polarization, institutional dysfunction and threats to civil liberties, according to the report.
“It’s quite clear by now that the fever didn’t break with the election of a new administration,” he said, pointing to “the runaway levels of polarization (and) the attempts to undermine the credibility of electoral results without any evidence of fraud”.
Of the 173 countries covered by International IDEA’s report, 104 were democracies and 52 of those were in decline.
Meanwhile, the number of countries moving toward authoritarianism, 27, was more than double the number moving toward democracy, at 13.
Almost half of all authoritarian regimes became even more repressive in 2022, with Afghanistan, Belarus, Cambodia, Comoros and Nicaragua singled out as experiencing a “broad decline”.
In Asia, where only 54 percent of people live in a democracy, authoritarianism is solidifying, the report said, while Africa, despite a myriad of challenges, remains “resilient” in the face of instability.
In Europe, almost half of all democracies, or 17 countries, suffered democratic erosion in the last five years.
“Democracies are struggling to effectively bring balance to environments marked by instability and anxiety, and populists continue to gain ground around the world as democratic innovation and growth stagnate or decline”, the report said.

* Comment: