The Economist Democracy Index
rates countries on the state of their governing system each year.
In the latest installment, 21 countries in the world were rated as a “full democracy”, including all Scandinavian countries, several Western European nations as well as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius and Costa Rica.
Advanced economies like France, Japan and the U.S. found themselves in the “flawed democracies” category. According to the report, the persistent success of anti-establishment parties (on the left and the right) was partly to blame for the “decline in the quality of democracy”. Japan, which is rated negatively because of inaction on gender inequality, actually made improvements but still “has a long way to go”. The U.S., finally, lost points because of political gridlock and the partisan nature of the political system.
The countries rated most poorly were North Korea, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The lowest rated European nations were Russia and Belarus.