How is Timor-Leste’s Democracy’s Development Base on the Democracy Index Report in 2012 – 2015
By Karlito Nunes
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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 167 independent states. The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself categorized as one of four types of regime: “full democracies”; “flawed democracies”; “hybrid regimes”; and “authoritarian regimes”.
Timor-Leste categorized “Flawed Democracy”. Democracy index survey in 2015, there are 20 countries classified full democracies, 59 countries classified flawed democracies, 37 countries classified hybrid democracies and 51 countries classified authoritarian regimes. There is setbacks If compare to Democracy Index survey in 2012. Timor-Leste categorized “Flawed Democracy”. Democracy index survey in 2012, there are 25 countries classified full democracies, 54 countries classified flawed democracies, 37 countries classified hybrid regimes and 51 countries classified authoritarian regimes.
The Democracy Index report in 2015, Timor-Leste rank 44, if compare to the Democracy Index report in 2012 Timor-Leste rank 43 out of 167 worldwide countries. It meant that Timor-Leste’s democracy process one step to setback.
The countries classified as flawed democracies which are, these countries have free and fair elections and even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties will be respected. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation. Only four ASEAN countries classified as flawed democracies which are Indonesia, Philippine, Malaysia and Singapore the rest ASEAN countries are classified hybrid regimes base on the Democracy Index report on 2015.
Let’s have looks the Democracy Index report for Timor-Leste based on each of the five categories compare 2015/2012: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; thefunctioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories;
Electoral process and pluralism – It scores particularly well in terms this measure where it gets (8.67/8.67 still the same) points, sufficient for a full democracy ranking (anything above 8.00). This implies that the elections are organized in a competitive and fair environment, there are no obstructions for political parties that want to contest the elections and, at the same time, everyone is given the opportunity to vote.
Civil liberties - Furthermore, East Timor scores particularly well in terms of the civil liberties (7.94/7.94 still the same) meaning that the media are relatively free (data was before the controversial media law passed by the Parliament in May, 2014), people have the right to join various organizations and associations, the judiciary is relatively free, there is religious tolerance, etc.
Political participation - East Timor doesn’t score as well on political participation (5.56/5.56 still the same) which implies that people are not involved in the governance process as much as they could be and that government has failed to motivate them to participate in the political life. The overall membership in political parties and non-governmental organizations is low and the general interest in politics is not very high. This is true for many flawed democracies.
Functioning of government - East Timor does not score very well in terms of the functioning of government (6.14/6.79 the difference is here), implying that the government could have a more effective system of checks and balance, special economic groups may influence political authorities.
Democratic political culture - Finally, in terms of political culture East Timor scores (6.88/6.88 still the same), which implies that people values are still not very democratic, this is normal given that the country only recently became independent.
Overall score the Democracy Index report in 2015, Timor-Leste scores better than any of the ASEAN countries. For example, Indonesia is (49rd), Philippines (54th) Malaysia (68th) and Singapore (74th). It scores remarkably well, when compare to CPLP countries as well: Cape Verde (32th), Portugal (33th) and Brazil (51th). The rest of CPLP’s countries classified in hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. Finally,Timor-Leste can look up to some of the most developed democracies that are in its regions like New Zealand (4th), and Australia (9th) which classified in full democracies country.
All in all, Timor-Leste is doing many things right given that it is a relatively new democracy. This, of course, does not mean that Timorese politicians should rest on the laurels, but they should continue to improve our political state institutions systems and democracy culture in order to make Timor-Leste even more democratic than it is today.
This article is personal analysis base on the democracy index report on 2012 and 2015
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