Democracy Index 2018: Sri Lanka ranking falls more than others in region after crisis

Jan 09, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s democracy ranking has fallen more than any other country in the region with a marked decrease in its score from 6.48 in 2017 to 6.19, driven by a worsening in the functioning of government and in civil liberties.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index 2018 provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories.

“Sri Lanka was plunged into a constitutional crisis in late October when the president, Maithripala Sirisena, announced the dismissal of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, replacing him with an ally, Mahinda Rajapaksa,” the report said.

“This overreach of the president’s powers has dampened public confidence in government.”

Sri Lanka ranked 71st position (62nd in 2017) with an overall score of 6.19. The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

Sri Lanka received 7.83 points for electoral process and pluralism, 5.71 for the functioning of government, 5.00 for political participation, 6.25 for political culture and 6.18 for civil liberties.

Sri Lanka is also among the 55 flawed democracies in the world. These countries have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems, basic civil liberties are respected.

However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, a majority of countries in the region in fact saw their ranking improve in 2018, although regime types in all instances remained the same.

A total of 42 countries in the world experienced a decline in their total score compared with 2017; 48 registered an increase in total score. But as a percentage of the world’s population, fewer people lived in some form of democracy.

Just over one-third of the population lived under authoritarian rule, with a large share represented by China.

China rose nine places in the global ranking, although it remains classified as an authoritarian regime and its climb in the index mainly reflects the worsening scores of other countries in the index.