The Democracy Index 2020 has placed Thailand 4th in ASEAN and 73rd in the world, categorising it as a, “Flawed Democracy.” The index, which is compiled by The Economist Intelligence Unit, part of the company which publishes The Economist newspaper, measures the state of democracy in 167 countries around the world. Norway has topped the global ranking, sitting firmly in the “Full Democracy” category, followed by Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, and Canada.
Malaysia comes top of the ASEAN nations and ranked 39th in the world. Other ASEAN nations that followed in the global rankings are the Philippines at 55, Indonesia at 64, Thailand at 73 and Singapore at 74. Cambodia was classed as, “Authoritarian” and came in at 130, with Myanmar at 135, Vietnam at 137, and Laos at 161. The Asian country to rank the highest was Taiwan, coming in at 11 and upgraded from a “Flawed Democracy” to “Full Democracy” status.
Measurement criteria take several factors into consideration, including a country’s electoral process, pluralism, how government functions, civil liberties, and political culture. Thailand scored well on its electoral process and pluralism, but didn’t do so well on the functioning of government. After being upgraded from “Hybrid Regime” to “Flawed Democracy” status in 2019, the country’s overall score has fallen again as a result of political developments last year, including the dissolution of opposition party Future Forward, the treatment meted out to anti-government protesters, and restrictions on local and foreign media.
Most of this year’s downgrades were related to the functioning of government and civil liberty violations, with Covid-19 restrictions cited as a primary factor. Nearly every country has been penalised for curbing freedoms, some more harshly than others. The report says that even in functioning democracies, those opposed to lockdowns had their voices stifled to a certain extent, while more authoritarian governments are accused of using Covid-19 to quell criticism and come down hard on their opponents.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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