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Malta retains ‘full democracy’ ranking in EIU’s democracy index

15th place ranking in 2012 index keeps Malta ahead of UK and USA.

Matthew Vella
30 March 2013, 12:00am


Malta has maintained its ranking within the Economist Intelligence Unit's league of 'full democracies' in the 2012 edition that sees it edge past the United Kingdom and just one level below Germany.

With an overall score of 8.28 across such democracy indicators that gauge our electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture, and civil liberties, Malta in 2012 was a member of the top tier of democracies, which includes 11 EU member states.

Malta's score places it above the United States of America, and even EU member states like Italy and France, which fell into the 'flawed democracies' category according to the EIU.

With 2012 characterised by Europe's sovereign debt crises and weakened confidence in the political institutions across the continent, Malta itself faced its own parliamentary crisis with a year seeing the ruling Nationalist government lose its one-seat majority, and face early elections after failing to pass the Budget vote. In March 2013, Labour was elected to power on an unprecedented 36,000 vote majority.


While almost half of the world's countries can be considered to be democracies, the EIU's index classifies only 25 countries as "full democracies" and 54 countries which are rated as "flawed democracies". Of the remaining 88 countries in the index, 51 are authoritarian and 37 are "hybrid regimes". 

"The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracy category. US democracy has been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene and political brinkmanship and paralysis. The UK is beset by a deep institutional crisis," the EIU said.

The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

The overall index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in the five categories. The overall index is the simple average of the five category indexes. A three-point scoring system for the 60 indicators is used. The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0 to 10 scale. Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: "full democracies" (scores of 8 to 10); "flawed democracies" - scores of 6 to 7.9; "hybrid regimes" - scores of 4 to 5.9; "authoritarian regimes" - scores below 4. 

Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
justin spiteri
A most respectable ranking to be sure. But note that we only score 5.56 in Political Participation. It would be worthwhile looking into why - and how this could be improved upon.
Philip Borg
l-EIU ma ghandiex investigaturi tajbin fil-kultura politika ta' Malta; kieku kienet tinduna li qed jahbula l-fatt li ghal dawn l-ahhar 33 sena, ta' kull 15 ta' Ottubru, Dr.EFA kien jipposa bhala l-vittma li harqulu l-bictejn ghamara nhar il-Black Monday u wehel missieri, Karm Grima, imma skond l-Inkjesta Muscat Azzoppardi dan kien il-frame-up tas-seklu biex ma jinkixfux li Dr. de Marco kien orkestrah u Dr. EFA jahbilu biex ma jinkixfux li l-kultura politika hamguha iz-zewg partiti.Skond mist. par. 14066 sed 225, di l-inkjesta seraqha Dr. A. Sant 5 snin wara u ha l-manca qaluli sorsi ta' l-ghasfur, u sal-lum hadd ma jrid jaghatina l-kumpens ta' li sofrejna.