Malta registers second time low on EIU Democracy Index

Miguela Xuereb

Malta has registered a score of 8.21 in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, a second time low for the country since the Index has started in 2006.

Malta climbed to 8.21 in 2018 from 8.15 in 2017 however still lower than 8.39 in 2006, 2008, 2014 – 2016. Malta ranked 18 globally and 13 regionally in the recently published report ‘Democracy Index 2018: Me Too?’. It also classified as a full democracy according to the report. However it is only two ranks away from being classified as a “flawed democracy” according to the same report.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, provides a snapshot of the state of democracy for 165 independent states and two territories. The Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of the government, political participation and political culture. Based on scores on a range of indicators within these categories each country is then classified as one of four types of regime full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime and authoritarian regime.

A closer look to the five categories

On a closer look, one finds that Malta scored as follows in the five categories, electoral process and pluralism (9.71), functioning of government (8.21), political participation (6.11), political culture (8.75) and civil liberties (8.82). Malta scored lowest in political participation which takes into consideration election turnout, reasonable degree of autonomy and voice in the political process for ethnic, religious and other minorities, women in parliament, extent of political participation, citizens’ engagement with politics, among other indicators.

Europe’s declining trend

The average score for Western Europe declined slightly for the third consecutive year to 8.35 from 8.38 in 2017 and 8.42 in 2015. The report notes how the a marginal deterioration was registered for four out of five categories – political culture, functioning of government, electoral process and pluralism and civil liberties. However there was an increase in the average score for political participation from 7.49 in 2017 to 7.54 in 2018. Finland, Germany and Malta improved their score, while Turkey, Italy and Austria decreased their score.

The results for 2018 are stable, with no significant changes in any type of classification. Only 4.5% of the world’s population lives in a full democracy.