Of the people, by the people

10 February 2011 | In the news

Democracy is doing well in Finland, according to a democracy barometer showing the development of the thirty ‘best’ democracies in the world.

Finland came second after Denmark and before Belgium in this latest update of the barometer, compiled by the University of Zurich and the Social Science Research Center Berlin, using a hundred empirical indicators to measure how well countries comply with the principles of freedom, equality and control and placed between the years 1995 and 2005.

At the bottom end of the scale were the democracies in Poland, South Africa and Costa Rica. The US was tenth, Japan 25th, Great Britain 26th and France 27th. Germany was placed 11th, and Switzerland 14th.

The democracy barometer measures nine quality indicators: the protection of personal freedom from infringements by third parties, especially the state; the rule of law; an active citizenship; transparency; participation; representation; political competition; a system of checks and balances; and the ability to implement democratic decisions.

According to the researches, the barometer shows no evidence of a ‘crisis of democracy’: there was an increase in the quality of democracy in 21 countries. However, the remaining nine countries exhibit a lower quality than in 1995 (Italy, the Czech Republic, Portugal, the US, Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Australia and Germany). Read more here.