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Finland ranks sixth in global democracy index

In a challenging year for democracy worldwide, Finland ranked highly in civil liberties.

Pasi Markkanen

The Economist Intelligence Unit has placed Finland in sixth position in the 13th iteration of its Democracy Index.

The report measured the state of democracy in 167 countries around the world. This year it gave Finland a score of 9.20, which continues an upward trend from 2013’s score of 9.03 but declines by 0.05 from the previous year. Finland received full marks in the category of electoral processes and pluralism and scored high in civil liberties. The political culture and political participation categories leave room for improvement, with both graded below nine.

The top trio, Norway, Iceland and Sweden, were followed closely by New Zealand, Canada and Finland. The share of countries deemed full democracies increased from 5.7 per cent to 8.4 per cent in 2020, but overall almost 70 per cent of countries faced a decline in their score compared to 2019. The average global score sunk to a new low of 5.37.

According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant “biggest rollback of individual freedoms ever undertaken by governments during peacetime” show as a broad decline in the functioning of government and civil liberties categories. While Finland managed to hold on to its score from 2019 in functioning of government (8.93), the downgrades in the category were led by full democracies, signalling a failure “to allow proper scrutiny of new emergency powers”.

By: Samuli Ojala