Chilean democracy rises in the international ranking of The Economist thanks to the plebiscite and the constituent process

The Democracy Index prepared by the magazine’s intelligence unit The Economist and released this Wednesday, it brought good news for Chile. The country rose four places in the ranking to place 17th worldwide, being the second best position among Latin American countries, only surpassed by Uruguay (15).

The report highlighted the “overwhelming” participation of the citizens in the plebiscite of October 25, in which almost 80% of the population voted in favor of a new Constitution. “After a dramatic increase in social unrest at the end of 2019, the Chilean government, led by Sebastián Piñera, agreed to hold a vote on the modification of the Constitution, which dates from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990),” he says the study.

“In a referendum held on October 25, with an above-average turnout, Chileans overwhelmingly voted to change the Constitution. In April 2021, Chileans will return to the polls to elect the members of the constituent assembly who will draft a new letter. magna, “the document adds.

Both Uruguay and Chile are considered within the category of “full democracies”, the same one that Costa Rica enters, which is ranked 18. The rest of the countries in the region are within the group of “imperfect democracies.”

Globally, Norway (9.81), Iceland (9.37) and Sweden (9.26) took the top three places. New Zealand and Canada follow in fourth and fifth places respectively. The top ten is completed by Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Australia and the Netherlands.

Setback in Latin America

However, the ranking prepared by The Economist reported that Latin America’s score fell for the fifth consecutive year from 6.13 in 2019 to 6.09 in 2020, which was mainly due to restrictions on personal freedoms as a result of covid-19.

The report maintains that this fall is also due to the democratic setback that countries such as El Salvador, Haiti, Guatemala, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have suffered.

“The decline in Latin America’s overall score on the Democracy Index in recent years has been driven mainly by a deterioration in two categories of the index: electoral process and pluralism and civil liberties: the two categories in which the region outperforms the world average, “the study argues.

Another point that has caused this decrease in the score of Latin American countries is the functioning of their governments, which “has been poor, since the region has struggled to face high levels of corruption and violence. Ineffective governance popular dissatisfaction has increased, undermining trust in political institutions. “

As a positive point, they highlight that this situation has driven an increase in political participation, recalling the social protests that occurred in several Latin American countries during 2019.

Coronavirus effect

Globally, The Economist remarks that lDemocratic freedoms have declined in almost 70% of the world’s countries in 2020 due to restrictions caused by the fight against the pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge setback in democratic freedoms, which brought the average score of the index to historic lows,” according to this study released by the research unit of the British weekly.

The phenomenon is global and very pronounced in autocratic regimes in Africa or the Middle East, but the “suppression of individual freedoms in advanced democracies was the most striking of 2020,” he highlights.

“The voluntary abandonment of fundamental freedoms by millions of people was perhaps one of the most notorious events of this extraordinary year (…) but we cannot conclude that the high level of acceptance of the confinement measures means that people detract from freedom, “said Joan Hoey, head of the study.

“They simply judged, on the basis of evidence …, that avoiding catastrophic deaths justified a temporary loss of freedom,” he said.

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