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South Korea ranks 20th in EIU Democracy Index

The Economist Intelligence Unit, a research and advisory company affiliated with the Economist Group, released its latest Democracy Index report on December 19.

In the Democracy Index for 2010, South Korea ranked 20th with an overall score of 8.11, an eight-place jump over its 28th place ranking in 2008.

Now in its third edition, the index provides an overview of the state of democracy worldwide based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; government functioning; political participation and political culture.

The poll group nations were divided into four types of regimes: 26 full democracies, 53 flawed democracies, 33 hybrid regimes and 55 authoritarian regimes. The EIU only excludes micro states, and its research covers nearly the entire world population.

South Korea was considered a “full democracy,” along with only 26 other countries (representing 12% of the entire population) out of the 167 nations covered by the index.

South Korea received high scores for its electoral process and pluralism (9.17) and civil liberties (8.82) but relatively lower scores in the functioning of government (7.86); political participation (7.22) and political culture (7.50).

North Korea was listed as the least democratic nation, falling under the authoritarian regime type. It ranked last with an overall score of 1.08, and received scores of zero in the categories of “electoral process and pluralism” and “civil liberties.”

While the report pinpoints a noticeable worldwide trend described as a “democratic recession” in light of the global financial crisis, South Korea is one of the few countries with higher overall score in 2010 than in 2008. It was also ranked highest among Asian countries, followed by Japan (22nd) and Taiwan (36th). China’s rank remained unchanged from the 2008 edition, coming in at 136th.

Norway ranked first among full democracies with an overall score of 9.8, with Iceland (9.65), Denmark (9.52), Sweden (9.58) and New Zealand (9.26) following. The U.S. is ranked at 17th (8.18), just ahead of the U.K. (rank 19, 8.16), while France came in at 31st (7.77).

For more details, the full report can be downloaded from the official website. Click here: http://www.eiu.com/public/democracy_index.aspx (English)

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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