Thailand soars higher in democracy rankings

Thailand catapulted up 38 places in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2019 Democracy Index, the most significant gain of any nation, thanks to last year’s national elections and broad political participation.

“The biggest score change in Asia occurred in Thailand. Voters had a wide array of parties and candidates from which to choose, and this helped to restore some public confidence in the electoral process and the political system,” the EIU said.

“The election led to improvements in the scores across all five categories of the Democracy Index, but the sharpest increase was recorded for electoral process and pluralism,” The Economist said.

The five categories were electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political cultures, and civil liberties.

Countries were measured by a score of 1 through 10 in each category. Thailand received 7.42 points for electoral process and pluralism, 5.36 for functioning of government, 6.11 for political participation, 6.25 for political culture, and 6.47 for civil liberties. Its overall score was 6.32 out of 10. The average score in Asia was 5.67.

The Economist examined 167 countries and ranked Thailand 68th. Of those 167 countries, the magazine classified just 22 as full democracies. Thailand was in the group labeled flawed democracies, just below full democracies, along with 53 other countries. Below that were hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, only Australia and New Zealand were classified as full democracies. Japan and South Korea scored close to being full democracies but remained in the flawed democracies category.

Singapore and Hong Kong tied for 75th place, while India fell ten places to 51st.

Photo courtesy of