The State of Democracy

Democracy Assessments in Eight Nations Around the World

The State of Democracy: Democracy Assessments in Eight Nations Around the World is the robust and sensitive study of democratisation in eight very different countries at varying stages of democratisation - Bangladesh, El Salvador, Italy, Kenya, Malawi, New Zealand, Peru and South Korea. This unique comparative study first presents the findings of in-country teams of experts in the eight countries on the state of democracy in their own country; and concludes with an analysis and synthesis of their findings to suggest an overall general trajectory of the democratisation process. In doing so, the conclusions examine a variety of issues of significance to democracy, including for example the creation of electoral space, the formation of political parties, the political inclusion of minorities, mechanisms of accountability, and the reduction of corruption.
The strength of The State of Democracy lies in the common use by the eight teams of the same democracy assessment framework developed under the auspices of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), Stockholm. This innovative assessment framework covers every aspect of democracy: citizen rights and the rule of law, representative and accountable government, civil society and popular participation, and the international dimensions of democracy. The expert teams used the same methodology to answer the same questions: how democratic are we? In what respects have we made progress? What are the major defects of our governing arrangements from a democratic point of view? How do we stand in comparison with our past and with other comparator countries?
Thus their findings are both comprehensive and directly comparable. The State of Democracy contains summaries of each democracy assessment; presents detailed comparative data on key democratic indicators for the eight countries; and then concludes with an overall analysis. The eight studies were pilot schemes, funded and organised by International IDEA, to validate and test the democracy assessment framework, set out in the companion volume, The International IDEA Handbook on Democracy Assessment, also published by Kluwer Law International. Some studies are also being published separately in their country of origin as promotional tools for democratic reform. International IDEA is continuing to cumulate these comparative studies and analysis of democratic trends around the world, see www.idea.int.
The State of Democracy: Democracy Assessments in Eight Nations Around the World comprises: an introduction explaining the methodology being used; summary findings in systematic form for each of the eight countries; comparative tables covering a range of democratic features in both qualitative and quantitative aspects; a conclusion drawing out the implications of the country findings for the future of democratisation generally. The book will be of value to all those interested in the progress of democracy, whether as academics, practitioners or citizens, and in finding effective ways to assess it.

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Contributors. About the editors. About International IDEA. Acknowledgements. Abbreviations. Foreword. Part 1: Introduction. Why conduct democracy assessments? What is distinct about the IDEA framework and method. Part 2: The framework of assessment questions. Citizenship, law and rights. Representative and accountable government. Civil society and popular participation. Democracy beyond the state. Part 3: Democracy assessment from eight nations (summaries). Bangladesh. El Salvador. Italy. Kenya. Malawi. New Zealand. Peru. South Korea. Part 4: Key democratic indicators compared. (topics chosen from sections in the IDEA Handbook) Violent conflict. The position of minorities. Justice and the judiciary. Legal aid. Prison and the death penalty. Civil and political rights. Government spending. Basic service and health-care. Electoral participation and proportionality. Party financing. Party choice. Capacity govern. Control of the military. Corruption. Press freedom. Women in public and political life. Political consultation. Decentralisation. Asylum-seekers and refugees. Part 5: Conclusions about the democratisation process. Tables. Part 1: 1.1. Democratic principles and mediating values. 1.2. The assessment framework: overview. Part 3: 3.1. Bangladesh: Basic socio-economic indicators. 3.2. El Salvador: Electoral participation, 1988-2000. 3.3. Kenya: Indicators of inequality (with selected comparator countries). 3.4. Kenya: Monetary indicators, 1990s. 3.5. Malawi: Basic socio-economic indicators. 3.6. New Zealand: Key indicators by ethnic group, 1996-2000. 3.7. New Zealand: Women in government - New Zealand and selected OECD countries, 1996.