Spanish democracy ranking drops due to “repression”, says report

It is the second country of Western Europe where position has worsened the most in the last year

Spanish police officers face voters in Lleida during the 2017 independence referendum
Spanish police officers face voters in Lleida during the 2017 independence referendum / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

January 31, 2018 01:12 PM

Democracy in Spain has worsened. It is in fact the second country in Western Europe where democracy has worsened the most in the last year, even moreso than in Turkey. According to the British think tank Economist Intelligence Unit, it is due to Spain’s “repressive treatment” of pro-independence politicians, as well as its “attempt” to prevent the referendum on independence from being held on October 1.

In an annual report on the quality of democracy worldwide, the British think tank warned that Spain might no longer be considered to be a “full democracy” and instead become classfied as a “flawed democracy.“The national government’s attempt to stop  Catalonia’s illegal referendum on independence on October 1st by force and its repressive treatment of pro-independence politicians have put it at risk of becoming a “flawed democracy,” the report stated.

In the ranking of “full democracies”, Spain is the last one, in the 19th position, but closely followed by South Korea, the first country that is considered to be a “flawed democracy”. Indeed, the British think tank warned that the “conflict” between Catalonia and Spain is “set to continue” and the quality of democracy in Spain could continue to worsen.   

The Economist Intelligence Unit classifies countries in full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. It analyses five variables: the electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, the political participation, the political culture and civil liberties. Spain does not get the highest score in any of these variables.

Compared to other “full democracies”, Spain has an especially low score in the functioning of government, political participation and political culture. In fact, the lowest score is in the functioning of the government. According to the report, Norway is the most democratic country in the world and North Korea the most authoritarian one.