Democracy recedes at record pace, warns intergovernmental body – .

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Democracy recedes at record pace, warns intergovernmental body – .


BRUSSELS, Nov. 22 (Reuters) – More countries are sliding towards authoritarianism, as the number of established democracies under threat has never been higher, the International Institute for Democracy and Assistance said on Monday election (IDEA).

Populist politics, the use of restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic to silence critics, the tendency of countries to emulate the undemocratic behavior of others and the disinformation used to divide societies are mainly to blame, said the Stockholm-based intergovernmental organization in a report.

“More countries than ever are suffering from ‘democratic erosion’,” IDEA said in its 2021 State of Democracy study, drawing on data compiled since 1975.

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“The number of countries experiencing ‘democratic retreat’ has never been higher,” he said, referring to the regressive turn in areas such as checks on government independence and the judiciary, as well as media freedom and human rights.

Afghanistan, which was taken over by Taliban militants in August after the withdrawal of international troops, is the most dramatic case this year, while the February 1 coup in Myanmar marked the collapse of a fragile democracy. Other examples include Mali, which has suffered two coups since 2020, and Tunisia, where the president dissolved parliament and assumed emergency powers.

Major democracies like Brazil and the United States have seen presidents question the validity of election results, while India has witnessed lawsuits against groups of people critical of government policies.

Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Serbia are the European countries with the greatest democratic declines. Turkey experienced one of the biggest declines between 2010 and 2020.

“In fact, 70 percent of the world’s population now lives either in undemocratic regimes or in countries with declining democracy,” the report said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an upsurge in authoritarian behavior by governments. The study said there was no evidence authoritarian regimes were better at tackling the pandemic, despite reports to the contrary from Chinese state media.

“The pandemic provides additional tools and a rationale for repressive tactics and the silence of dissent in countries as diverse as Belarus, Cuba, Myanmar, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” the report said.

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Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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