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For researchers at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), decisions against democracy and human rights were made during the pandemic. Getty Images
For researchers at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), decisions against democracy and human rights were made during the pandemic. Getty Images

The authoritarian threat to democracy

The annual report of an international organization warns of the rise of authoritarianism. The United States is not doing well. 

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May 27th, 2022

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Democracy in the world continues in a clear deterioration, with authoritarian adventures in several countries in the midst of political polarization. A thoughtful study on the health of democracy has just been released.

It's the annual report of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), an intergovernmental organization created in 1995 in Stockholm  to "promote and improve sustainable democracy throughout the world and improve and consolidate electoral processes."

Every year, IDEA analyzes the state of democracy in the world. On November 22,  the organization released the Report on the Global State of Democracy 2021 - Building resilience in a pandemic era, in which he warns of the growth of authoritarianism.

IDEA took into account the measures taken on account of the pandemic and ratified the balance for 2020, according to which 60 percent of the countries made decisions contrary to democracy and human rights and, in some cases , the problems that had already come from before the Covid-19 crisis deepened.

One of the data that attracts the most attention is that the United States entered the list of "declining democracies", a clear effect of the government of Donald Trump, which boasted of his authoritarian actions.

Kevin Casas-Zamora, IDEA secretary general, told Agence France Press that “the visible deterioration of democracy in the United States is shown by the growing tendency to question reliable electoral results, efforts to suppress participation, and rampant polarization.” This diagnosis can be applied to countries such as Brazil, Colombia and Chile, where polarization has increased and the future is torn between extremes. Precisely, the report once again includes Brazil in the list of declining democracies on behalf of the government of Jair Bolsonaro, which wanted to erase the achievements in favor of the majorities with a stroke of the pen.

In the case of Chile, after the first round of the presidential elections, the presidency is between José Antonio Kast, an ultra-rightist who vindicates the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet and the son of a Nazi army soldier, and Gabriel Boric, a leftist from a coalition of the Broad Front and the Communist Party.

The IDEA list includes 98 democracies, 20 regimes it calls ‘hybrids’ and 47 authoritarian states.

Returning to democracy in the United States, the report warns that there is a decrease in the indicators that have to do with government controls and civic freedoms.

One of the most shocking data has to do with the fact that almost 5.5 billion people live in hybrids and authoritarians.

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