Please see below selected recent democracy-related change.
See also: Halcyon Democracy Headlines
- Democracy is, apparently, floundering, warned Exponential View. In the United States, support for being governed by elected officials has declined, especially amongst the young. And more than half of the people living in democracies think their voice is “rarely” or “never heard”, according to this recent research. In many democratic countries, increasingly fragmented and entrenched ideological positions are compounding the growing influence of media consumed on algorithmically influenced platforms.
- Meanwhile, an anarchist critique of democracy examined the concept in all its various forms. from alienation, to the logic of contextualised decision-making, the reduction of ideas to opinions and the near-universal acceptance of “majority rule”, but others want to go even furtherm believing "it is not enough for democracy to be radical; it must be revolutionary".
- In a more positive note, at the turn of the 20th century, there were fewer than ten democracies in the world. By the turn of the 21st, that number had reached 80, with half of humanity governed by some form of democracy.
- Indeed, GZEROMedia noted that India’s democracy has withstood the test of time. The nation of more 1.3 billion people has to deal with divisions of language, class, and religion. The constitution recognises 22 separate major languages that are spoken by at least one million people. A majority Hindu nation, India also boasts the world’s second largest Muslim population, outstripped only by Indonesia. The vestiges of the hierarchical caste system, long since outlawed, continue to limit people’s educational, career, and life prospects. Despite these hurdles, the country has experienced seven decades of almost uninterrupted democratic rule. However, there are always risks, warns GZEROMedia: e.g. the government’s recent threat to strip 4 million people, many of whom are migrants from the predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, of their citizenship demonstrates the danger.
- New democratic developments are also emerging - experiments in e-voting, or an increase in direct democracy, or the use of referenda more frequently to connect with citizens.
- Norway once again topped the Economist Democracy Index global ranking in 2017. The Nordics occupy the top three spots, with Iceland and Sweden taking second and third place. New Zealand comes in fourth place and Denmark in fifth. Finland is not far behind, in ninth place with a total score above 9. At the other end of the rankings North Korea, with a total score of 1.08, remains firmly ensconced in last place. Syria, Chad, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also bring up the rear, occupying the four slots above North Korea. The scores for Syria and Chad did not change in 2017 compared with 2016, but the scores for CAR and the DRC both declined in 2017.
Afrobarometer research in 36 African countries between 2014 and 2015 found that 67 per cent of respondents saw democracy as the best system of government. In 26 of the 36 surveyed countries, popular demand for democracy surpasses citizens’ perceptions of how democratic their countries currently are. However, while constitutional restraints – particularly term limits – and laws protecting civil liberties are coming under attack across the continent, citizens of many countries have staged protests against these retrenchments.
- Although in the 2016 US presidential election, just 55.7 percent of the voting age population cast ballots, 25 other industrialised countries showed higher turnout than that in their last election cycle, according to a new study by Pew.
- There is no guarantee liberal democracy will survive the century, warned Quartz. Rival illiberal regimes in China, Turkey, and Russia claim broad popular support, and are now competing for legitimacy. The West’s remaining liberal democracies need to deliver for the populations if they want to survive, according to John Gray in the New Statesman.
- There are currently about 3.3 billion people living under political systems considered autocratic, according to a report by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, a research institution. That’s the highest number registered since they began regular surveys in 2006. Still, 4.2 billion people live in democracies.
- According to Pew, the % of people currently satisfied with the way democracy is working in their country is as follows: India, Sweden, Tanzania 79% ; Germany 73% ; Canada 70%; Russia 59%; UK 52%; Japan 50%; US 46%; France 34%; South Korea 30%, Brazil 28%, Spain 25% and Mexico 6%.
- Society is expressing its discontent with current democratic processes that leave the elites struggling to convince their voters of their good intentions and competencies, argued Shaping Tomorrow, while identifying the following key related trends:
- China's rise and Trump's reactions threaten to bury the liberal international order the United States helped to create in the aftermath of World War II.
- Europeans are taking digital manipulation of democracy seriously: Canada is a small market that cannot hope to sway big tech companies on its own.
- The election of Macron and his clear ambition create an opportunity for Paris to take the lead in forging a European strategy.
- U.S. forces will likely need to bolster their own presence and assistance mission to Syrian Democratic Forces holding strategic territory liberated from ISIS.
- The values of liberal democracy are in retreat: The threats to peace around the world are more acute than ever.
- The Energise Africa partnership will allow BBOXX to extend its roll out of solar systems across Rwanda, Togo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria.
- An embarrassing defeat, such as that suffered in the 2013 Syria vote, could spark an election and potentially even do damage to Britain's international standing.
- There are arguments about the rise of China and other authoritarian regimes threatening the viability of liberal democracy.
- A predicted brain gain for Canada owing to reactionary politics in the United States and elsewhere is having an impact and that scientists are voting with their feet.
- Latvia's Security Police warned on March 19 that Russian intelligence services continue to pose a "significant threat" to Latvia and are continuing their efforts to recruit Latvians and infiltrate key Latvian government institutions.
- The election of Donald Trump, the threat of populists in France and the Netherlands - not to mention in Poland, Hungary and Turkey - has caused some to fear for the health of liberal democracy itself.
- The election victories of Sebastián Piñera in Chile and Juan Orlando Hernández in Honduras marked the beginning of an intense electoral period in Latin America that will define the regional political map well into the next decade.
- The United States may provide sanctions relief in exchange for Russian cooperation on combating global terrorist threats such as ISIS or reducing its nuclear weapons capabilities.
- The EU will remain a vital source of support for efforts to defend migrants' well-being in the highly insecure transit routes from Central America through Mexico.
- Beijing's risk aversion has steadily given way to participating in Mali, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Darfur, which include civilian protection and humanitarian aid.
- Top officials in the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have warned the centre-left Social Democrats that failure to stick to agreements on migrants could cause the collapse of the potential new German government.
- The EU could set up a special fund to strengthen civil society organizations that support the rule of law, democracy and human rights to counteract the governments' assault on NGOs in countries like Hungary and Poland.
- India is preparing for a general election in 2019 and several states will elect new assemblies this year and the next.
- Democracy and human rights in many Southeast Asian countries will remain fragile in 2018 as autocratic tendencies deepen in some regimes and rampant corruption and cronyism undermine democratic values.
- The risk of losing money from political instability have turned out to be a lot higher in the US, UK and the rest of Europe than in emerging markets.
- Any announcement that elections will not be held in 2018 could prompt destabilising protests in Kabul.
- Russia could build off its symbolic victory in Moldova's presidential election by continuing to leverage its media and by funding pro-Russian parties in the 2018 parliamentary elections.
- By 2030, more than half of Africa's population will reside in seven countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa.
- More than 36% of the world’s population still live in "authoritarian regimes", according to the Democracy Index.
Global democracy suffered a significant regression in 2017, according to The Economist's latest annual Democracy Index published today. The Index – which assesses the state of democracy in 165 independent states and two territories in 2017 – has recorded the worst performance since the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis in 2010. Not a single region recorded an improvement in its average score in 2017 compared with 2016. One contributing factor to this has been a marked decline in media freedoms and curbs on free speech, through growing threats of government repression and new challenges from non-state actors. This year’s Democracy Index report has a special focus on media freedom and includes a new Media Freedom Index and global ranking. Key findings from the report included:
- Deepening political, social and cultural divisions are becoming entrenched in many of the world’s democracies
- Asia experienced the biggest democratic decline of all the seven regions
- Spain has retained its status as a "full democracy", but its score fell sharply, in part because of the national government’s handling of the Catalonia crisis
- Nordic countries occupy the top three spots of the ranking, with North Korea in last place,