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Bangladesh not a democracy, a hybrid regime
Saturday, 28 January 2017

The state of democracy in Bangladesh has remained static compared to the last year when the world saw a democratic recession, shows the Economist Intelligence Unit\'s (EIU\'s) democracy index 2016.

The EIU has not called Bangladesh a democracy; rather branded it as a hybrid regime, a branding that remains valid for the country since 2008.

Bangladesh has ranked 84th among 167 nations with a score of 5.73 in the category of ‘hybrid regime’.

The country was at 86th position with the same score in 2015, according the index released Thursday on the website of London-based influential magazine The Economist.

The average global score fell to 5.52 from 5.55 in 2015 (on a scale of 0 to 10), according to the index, the ninth edition. The index records how global democracy fares.

It is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

Bangladesh scored 7.42 in electoral process and pluralism; 6.76 in civil liberties; 5.07 in the functioning of government; 5.00 in the political participation; and 4.38 in the political culture with an overall score of 5.73 in 2016.

Accordingly, each country is classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”; “flawed democracy”; “hybrid regime”; and “authoritarian regime”.

Back in 2007, the EIU, in its democracy index 2006. had put Bangladesh in the category of “flawed democracy” when the country had secured an overall score of 6.11 on the 0-to-10 scale and was ranked of 75th.

But the following year when the country witnessed a takeover by a military-backed “emergency government”, Bangladesh slipped to the category of hybrid regime with a score of 5.52 and since then Bangladesh remained in the same category.

According to the 2016 democracy index, 76 out of 167 countries covered by the model can be considered to be democracies.

However, the number of “full democracies” has declined from 20 in 2015 to 19 in this year’s index as the US, a standard-bearer of democracy for the world, has slipped to the category of “flawed democracy” from full democracy, as popular confidence in the functioning of public institutions has declined.

The score for the US fell to 7.98 from 8.05 in 2015, causing the world’s lone superpower to slip below the 8.00 threshold for a “full democracy”,” read the EIU\'s report.

The rest 57 democracies are ranked as flawed ones.

Of the remaining 91 countries in the index, 51 are “authoritarian” and 40 (up from 37 in 2015) are considered to be “hybrid regimes”.

The 40 countries of hybrid regimes are (according to the order): Zambia, Georgia, Honduras, Guatemala, Albania, Ecuador, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Montenegro, Ukraine, Mali, Benin, Fiji, Bolivia, Malawi, Kenya, Liberia, Uganda, Macedonia, Madagascar, Turkey, Kyrgyz Republic, Bhutan, Thailand, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lebanon, Nepal, Nicaragua, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Palestine, Pakistan, Cambodia, Myanmar, Iraq, Mozambique and Haiti.

The countries having full democracies are (according to the order): Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Australia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Malta, the United Kingdom, Spain, Mauritius and Uruguay.

The countries having flawed democracies are (according to the order): Japan, the United States of America, Italy, Cabo Verde, France, South Korea, Costa Rica, Botswana, Portugal, Israel, Estonia, Czech Republic, India, Taiwan, Chile, Belgium, Cyprus, Slovenia, Lithuania, South Africa, Jamaica, Latvia, Slovakia, Timor-Leste, Greece, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Argentina, Philippines, Brazil, Poland, Suriname, Croatia, Ghana, Hungary, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Peru, El Salvador, Romania, Mongolia, Lesotho, Serbia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Hong Kong, Tunisia, Singapore, Namibia, Paraguay, Guyana, Senegal, Papua New Guinea and Moldova.

And finally the authoritarian regimes are (according to the order): Mauritania, Jordan, Niger, Armenia, Kuwait, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Comoros, Ethiopia, Algeria, Belarus, Cameroon, Cuba, Angola, Vietnam, Togo, Egypt, Russia, Qatar, Guinea, China, Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, Oman, Swaziland, Congo (Brazzaville), Gambia, Djibouti, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Burundi, Sudan, Eritrea, Laos, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Guinea-Bissau, Uzbekistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, Chad, Syria and North Korea.