Laos’ ranking in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2016 “Democracy Index”
Note: This is the second in a series of posts on “Laos by the numbers.”
Feedback and suggestions are welcome.
The Lao PDR ranks 151st out of 167 on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Democracy Index” for 2016. The index compiles 60 indicators grouped into five categories, with a score of between 0 and 10 for each category:
- 8.00 to 10.00 = Full Democracy
- 6.00 to 8.00 = Flawed Democracy
- 4.00 to 6.00 = Hybrid Regime
- 0.00 to 4.00 = Authoritarian Regime
The Lao PDR’s overall score of 2.37 puts Laos firmly in the category of Authoritarian Regime:
Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism has vanished or is extremely limited. These nations are often absolute dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy but with meager significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections (if they take place) are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and the presence of omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism.
The five categories, and Laos’ score in each are:
- Electoral process and pluralism = 0.83
- Functioning of government = 2.86
- Political participation = 1.67
- Political culture = 5.00
- Civil liberties = 1.47
Only ten of 167 countries rank lower than Laos in terms of Civil Liberties, and only two are lower in Political Participation.
While North Korea is ranked at the bottom of the list, Laos receives the lowest ranking of any Southeast Asian country. The rankings of neighbouring countries (with scores) include:
- China = 136th (3.14)
- Vietnam =131st (3.38)
- Myanmar = 113th (4.20)
- Cambodia = 112th (4.27)
- Thailand = 100th (4.92)
Laos’ score has changed little since the index was initiated in 2006. From that year through 2011 its score remained at 2.10. In 2012, it increased to 2.32 before dropping back to 2.21 through 2015, and then rising to 2.36 in 2016