According to the latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, which provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide, Sri Lanka fell back in democracy in 2018 more than any other country in the region.
The Democracy Index ranks 167 countries by 60 indicators based on five broad categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.
Based on its scores on the range of indicators within each category, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” and “authoritarian regime”.
According to the 11th edition of the Democracy Index, Sri Lanka saw 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 EIU says although Sri Lanka and seven other countries include the word “democratic”, in their full titles not one of these countries is actually fully democratic.
Sri Lanka has been classified as a “Flawed democracy”.
“The country 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 (who served as president in 2005-15). This overreach of the president’s powers has dampened public confidence in government,” the report said.
Elsewhere in South Asian region India ranked 41 with a score of 7.23, Bangladesh ranked 88, Bhutan 94, Nepal 97, Pakistan 112 and Afghanistan 143 in the bottom five.
Norway, ranked first as a full democracy, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand and Denmark ranked in the top five in that order.