HONOR GUARDS hold the Philippine flag in Caloocan, Nov. 30, 2020. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE PHILIPPINES remained a “flawed democracy” last year as it inched down a spot to 53rd out of 167 countries in the Democracy Index 2023 by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The Southeast Asian nation’s score dropped to a two-year low of 6.66, but scored better than the Asia and Australasia regional average of 5.41 and the global average of 5.23. The country had scored 6.73 in 2022 and 6.62 in 2021.

The EIU kept the Philippines tagged as a flawed democracy, taking into account the country’s electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture and civil liberties.

Philippines slips to 53<sup>rd</sup> in democracy ranking

Of these determinants, the Philippines’ highest score was on electoral process and pluralism at 9.17 out of a possible score of 10.

The global democracy score of 5.23 had fallen to a new low since 2006, with more than half of countries in Asia and Australiasia getting lower scores.

Norway topped the list of countries with an overall score of 9.81 and scoring 10.00 in political participation and political culture.

Only New Zealand (2nd), Taiwan (10th), Australia (14th), Japan (16th) and South Korea (22nd) were classified as “full democracies.”

EIU said the regression of democracies in Asia has been due to the erosion of civil liberties and restrictions on freedom of speech and of the media.

“The Democracy Index report examines the relationship between democracy and peace and the geopolitical drivers of conflict today,” EIU said.

“An international political system that does not reflect the shift in the global balance of economic power, in particular to Asia, is one source of increasing tension and conflict,” it added. — John Victor D. Ordoñez