Democracy 2023.02.24

Democracy is a system of government in which the sovereignty lies with the people, i.e., a form of government in which the people have the power to make decisions, and the countrys highest authority belongs to the people and is exercised directly or through representatives chosen by the people via an electoral system.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) compiles the annual Democracy Index based on five indicators: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties. The worlds 165 countries and two regions (Palestine and Hong Kong) are surveyed and ranked for each politys state of democracy. The maximum score for each indicator is 10 points. Based on the total score achieved, a political regime is classified as a full democracy if it has a total score higher than 8. It is classified as a flawed democracy if the total score is between 6 and 8 points and a hybrid regime if the score is between 4 and 6 points. A country is designated an authoritarian regime if its score is below 4. Finally, the overall ranking is based on the average of all five indicators.

In the 2021 edition of the Democracy Index, Norway ranks first with a top score of 9.75, followed by New Zealand in second place. The 3rd to 5th ranked countries are Finland, Sweden, and Iceland, respectively. Refer to the figure above for the countries ranked 6th to 10th.

In addition to being ranked 8th globally with a total score of 8.99, Taiwan is also designated a country with full democracy, ahead of many advanced democracies such as Australia and Switzerland (9th), the Netherlands and Canada (11th), Germany (15th), the United Kingdom (18th), France (22nd), and the United States (26th). Furthermore, Taiwan ranks first in Asia, surpassing a number of major countries in neighboring regions, such as South Korea (16th), Japan (17th), Malaysia (39th), India (46th), Indonesia (52nd), the Philippines (54th), Singapore (66th), and mainland China (148th).

In addition, Taiwan fares quite well with respect to the individual indicators. In addition to scoring the maximum 10 points for electoral process and pluralism, Taiwan scores 9.64 in the functioning of government category, which is in part with overall top-ranked Norway. In the civil liberties category, Taiwan scores 9.64, which surpasses Norways score of 9.12. The weakest indicator categories scored by Taiwan are political participation (7.78) and political culture (8.13).

The five bottom-ranked countries are Afghanistan (167th), Myanmar (166th), North Korea (165th), the Democratic Republic of Congo (165th), and the Central African Republic (164th).