Democracy is under pressure across the world. According to the latest annual report by Freedom House, a United States-based non-partisan think-tank, the balance is shifting further “in favour of tyranny”. In the report’s assessment, 2020 was the 15th consecutive year of declining global freedom.
This dire picture is confirmed by other studies. In the 2020 edition of its Democracy Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit recorded the worst state of global democracy since the index was first published in 2006.
V-Dem, another leading research project, reported today that in 2020, autocratisation accelerated and “turned viral” across the world. V-Dem’s study points out that “the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen” is down “to the levels around 1990”. Last year, its researchers concluded that for the first time since 2001, a majority of states are no longer under democratic rule.
In an opinion piece at AlJazeera.com, Andreas Bummel writes that the global trend of democratic backsliding and rising authoritarian influence makes it clear that a counter-strategy is urgent. In theory, democratic countries working together could muster substantial economic and political leverage.
In the article he elaborates on the Summit for Democracy to be hosted by the US administration, the D10 group of democracies proposed by the UK and the existing Community of Democracies. Among other things, he argues that a new club of democracies needs to be more than just a gathering of governments and that parliamentarians and civil society should be included.