Global democracy is at greater risk than at any time in the past 25 years, according to a landmark report by the independent watchdog Freedom House.
In the annual report, Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist, the Washington-based group said 61 countries were going backwards as far as democracy was concerned, compared with only 33 moving forwards. Moreover, some of the transgressors, including Russia, Egypt, Thailand, Nigeria and Turkey, are global or regional powers setting a bad example to others, it said.
Its findings come despite the fact that 2014 was a record year for democracy, with more people casting votes in national ballots than ever before. But holding elections does not always translate into healthy democracy. As the authoritarian Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, put it: “A democracy does not necessarily have to be liberal.”