Bulgaria is steadily deteriorating and has already moved to the lower half of the “flawed democracies” category. The main reason for this is because of concerns about the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of the media, as stated in a September law report by the European Commission.
The Economist Intelligence Unit explains this in its annual ranking of the state of democracy in the world in 2020. It also states that “the appointment of the Prosecutor General, who is allegedly associated with the government, has given rise to widespread anti-government protests across the country.”
Comments on the EIU have been growing steadily for Bulgaria over the last two years, as it concluded last year that democracy had stopped progressing 3 years earlier, and in 2019 it was revealed that the country’s democratic development over 12 years Is in Standstill.
In the world rankings, Bulgaria ranks 52nd, ahead of Suriname and India. This is not the worst situation for a country in the European Union – followed by Hungary (share position 55 with the Philippines), Croatia (ranked 59th with Ghana) and Romania (62).
In the company of imperfect and “hybrid” countries
No former communist country in Eastern Europe is out of the group of democracies with flaws, but this year the Economist magazine’s analyst group includes for example France and Portugal. On the other hand, Albania arises from the category of “hybrid regimes” in this group because of increased public support for democracy, reform of electoral laws by the government (due to European integration). But it is not yet clear whether these reforms will lead to completely free and fair elections, the report’s authors warned.
Bulgaria is in a region with many regimes that economists define as a hybrid between totalitarianism and democracy – northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Turkey (which at least in Europe to improve its position – 104 in the world Is ranked th.).
In the context of Central and Eastern Europe, the estimation of the electoral process in Bulgaria is similar to that of Poland (9.17 units out of a maximum of 10). The same goes for the functioning of the government (5.71), but according to this criterion, two of the following countries are better, although they lag behind in the overall rankings – Hungary (6.43), Croatia (6.07), Romania (5.36), Serbia (5.36).), Albania (5.36).
The participation of Bulgarians in political life – probably due to protracted protests – is estimated at 7.22 units of the index, and only Slovenia and Ukraine have such a high indicator in the past year.
For “political culture”, however, the indicator is 4.38, while in Poland, which ranks seventh, it is 5.63, and in Hungary, which is behind us – 6.25.
In the “Political Freedom” category, the score is 7.06 units, but it is exactly the same in Northern Macedonia and Serbia, and 7.35 in Albania.
How is it in central and eastern europe
The region from the Baltic to the Adriatic and the Black Sea is characterized by the fact that only 3 countries have not deteriorated their position in 2020. The strongest decline is in the Baltic republics, where Latvia has extended considerable support in the military government. “A similar trend has been seen in Lithuania, where there is less trust in government and institutions, as well as a growing appetite for a leader who rules with a strong hand, leading to a drop in overall results.”
Estonia remains with the highest regional indicator of 7.84, placing it 27th in the world.
The Czech Republic and Slovenia are ahead of the rest of Central Europe. Special attention has been paid to Poland in the autumn due to numerous anti-government protests and falling support for the government – this is seen as the vitality of democracy and people’s willingness to participate in it.
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