TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The London based publication “The Economist” published its annual Democracy Index report for the year 2017 on Wednesday Jan. 31. The yearly report is compiled by the “Economist Intelligence Unit” (EIU) to assess 167 countries based on five criteria.
The scale operates on a scale of zero to ten, while countries with a score of eight receive the distinction of being called “full democracies” by the publication.
This year, Taiwan’s Democracy ranking was judged to be 7.73 on the zero to ten scale, a decrease of .06 points from its previous score (7.79).
Taiwan’s overall ranking among countries however remained steady at number 33 out of 167 countries, the same place it received for the 2016 report.
Falling just below the level eight ranking, Taiwan therefore received the designation of a “flawed democracy.”
Taiwan’s scores in each of the five subcategories were as follows.
Electoral Process and Pluralism: 9.58
Functioning of Government: 8.21
Political Participation: 6.11
Political Culture: 5.63
Civil Liberties: 9.12
Supporters of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je celebrate his victory in Taipei, Nov. 29, 2014 (CNA Image)
In relation to Taiwan’s East Asian neighbors, South Korea moved forward five places from its 2016 rank following scandals involving its former president and a relatively smooth transition through impeachment and her removal from office, to be placed at number 20 in the world, and receive an 8.0 ranking as a “full democracy.”
Japan moved back by three places, from rank 20 in 2016 to rank 23 in the 2017 analysis. Hong Kong also regressed three places from 68 to 71, according to Liberty Times.
The average rank for democracy in Asia was only 5.63 this year, which denotes a number of “Hybrid regimes” in Southeast Asia and several “Authoritarian” states in the region, like China with a score of 139, and North Korea ranked 167.
Despite its designation as a “flawed democracy” Taiwan is still clearly a leader in many areas compared to other countries in the region, as evidenced by Taiwan's recent leap forward on the Human Freedom Index.
For an overview of the top 22 countries ranked by the EIU, check out the report at Business Insider.