A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2 down, 53 to go

After Egypt and Tunisia starting on what is hopefully the road to democracy, it's worth keeping a checklist of where the world's remaining authoritarian regimes are. Hopefully eventually there will be no countries on the list.

The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks countries according to how democratic they are (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index).

The remaining 53 authoritarian regimes in the world (ruling over 36% of the planet's population) are according to the EIU:

Burkina Faso
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Republic of the Congo
Equatorial Guinea
Guinea (may get removed from the list as recently had first elections for decades)
Ivory Coast
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates


Blogger Tony Beachcomber said...

52 1/2 if you take out South Sudan.

9:23 pm, February 13, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Nigeria had pretty free elections, at least??

Can't argue with most on that list, though.

12:47 am, February 14, 2011

Blogger Bluenote said...

Wasn't Zimbabwe one of those places where all the luvvies applauded its move to democracy in 1980. Be careful what you wish on folk for undemocratic regimes are frequently followed by even worse ones.

9:39 am, February 14, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Missed out the Fascist USA, that should be on the list!

3:39 pm, February 14, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the problems with this index is that its underlying assumption is that liberal democracy is a definitive measure of quality of life.

A list which rates both France and Israel as ‘flawed democracies’ with just a 0.29 score difference seems to warrant approaching with caution.

Grouping Cuba and Saudi Arabia together obscures such facts that Saudi carries out public floggings, the amputation of hands and feet for offences such as robbery are common, that women have to walk the streets shrouded from head to foot in black cloth accompanied by a male family member, and the vicious repression of gays, while in Cuba women enjoy equality before the law, the government actively work to promote the rights of gays, the infant mortality rate and the life expectancy is better than of either the US or the UK, and that education is free at all levels, and health is free from the cradle to the grave.

I am not suggesting that Cuba is a socialist paradise. I am pointing out that to choose to disseminate this index, highlighting Cuba and Saudi, is to create the impression in people’s minds that Cuba treats its people in a very similar way to the way Saudi treats theirs. Neither country has a liberal democracy, that is of course true, but that is where the similarity ends.

The USA has for 50 years had an irrational policy toward Cuba, and the United Nations General Assembly has consistently(nineteen times actually) called upon the USA to end its embargo which is in breach of freedom of trade and navigation, with only Israel and the US itself voting against (187 countries supported).

Those on the left, whatever their opinion of Cuba is, don’t help its people by supporting the US policy in this way.

3:42 pm, February 14, 2011

Anonymous Owen Jones said...

Surely Russia merits inclusion?

11:42 pm, February 14, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...


If people had that attitude, precious little would get changed anywhere - maybe that's how you like things, though??

The simple truth is - white minority rule (both in SA and Rhodesia) was fundamentally wrong and immoral - some would say evil.

The undeniable fact that Mugabe eventually turned out to be a monster does not alter that one iota.

Were you one of those wanting to prop up Mubarak in the name of "stability" too, I wonder?

12:38 am, February 15, 2011

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liberalism and democracy are way down the list of human needs.

In The USA they don't have many employment rights or entitlements are very ltd, democracy does not exist in the workplace you do as your told.

In Cuba the people have the right to health care and have workers committees on the board of Companies and have an easier way of buying homes.
What people want is secure job's & homes, access to health care and education, democracy is a load of hot air for those busy bodies who have time for the bureaucracy!

9:50 am, February 15, 2011

Blogger Bluenote said...

Anon 12:38, I made the point simply to illustrate that regime change is not always, some might say often, for the good. However, as you raise Rhodesia and South Africa in the same context there were, and remain, huge differences.

Rhodesia had minority rule, though not exclusively white, but not apartheid. The RSA had oppressive racial laws and segregation.

In the change to majority rule, Zimbabwe got Mugabe and South Africa Mandella. Huge difference!
Mandella emerged on massive popular support and went for a rainbow nation. Mugabe's election, even the first time round, was totally currupt with widespread electorate intimidation (I WAS THERE AS A MONITOR)and he quickly embarked on a policy of favouring his own support and tribe. Genocide of the Matabelle followed later by the illegal seizure of the property of Europeans and Asians in the name of indigenisation. Funny how it all finished up in the hands of Mugabe and his ZANU(PF) ministers and generals.

Bad choice to attack me on but how about the Shah to the Ayatollahs, if you want another example. Oh, and before you ask, I was not a buddy of the Shah.

11:04 am, February 15, 2011

Anonymous Clem the Gem said...

Luke, the horrible "guided"Democracies, such as Russia, do not really count as free, do they?
What about the corruption and mafia takeover in central European states such as Hungary?


3:18 pm, February 18, 2011


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