Spain has demonstrated once again that it has one of the highest quality democracies in the world. The 2019 edition of the Annual Democracy Report of the Varieties of Democracy Institute (also known as the V-Dem Institute), which forms part of the University of Gothenburg (Sweden), places Spain in 26th place in its ranking that analyses the situation of 179 countries.
This is a nine-place improvement compared to the analysis published last year. At the moment, Spain surpasses countries such as the United States, Japan and Austria, and ranks above the European Union average with a score of 7.42 out of 10.
Among the indicators in which Spain notably improved were clean elections (from 22nd to 7th position with 9.66 points), judicial constrains on the executive index, in regard to judicial independence (from 17th to 7th position) and equality before the law and individual liberty (from 14th to 11th position).
Spain is a reference in other indices
The V-Dem Institute is not the only international organisation that evaluates democracy in which Spain stands out. Over the last year, rankings from prestigious organisations renowned for their objectivity and the result of analysis from thousands of independent specialists from all over the planet have come up with similar findings.
Among them is the Rule of Law Index, elaborated by the World Justice Project. In its last edition, our country advanced two positions to number 21 due to the consolidation of our democratic institutions. Of the 113 countries analyzed, only 29 improved, including Spain.
Freedom in the World, by Freedom House, is another study that highlights our democratic quality. In the 2019 ranking, Spain scored 94 points out of 100, placing the country in 20th place and classifying it as one of the freest countries in the world in terms of voting.
In another study the Democracy Index of The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked Spain 19th out of 165 countries, with a score of 8.08 out of 10. According to this organization, our democracy is one of only 20 full democracies in the world.
27 million data points
Although the V-Dem Institute has been producing this report since 2017, it has historical data from more than 27 million data points, collected from 1789 to the present. These are broadly related to democratic processes and social freedom in 202 countries around the world.
The democracy report is not the only one produced by this institution. Some 3,000 experts from 170 nations collaborate with this institution to bring to light five rigorous indices on issues related to electoral processes, freedom and equality, in which Spain always comes up in the top 40. They are as follows:
Electoral Democracy Index: which looks at the transparency of electoral processes, freedom of expression, information and association.
Liberal Component Index: which is based on the guarantees of equality and liberties of citizens, the control of the judiciary over the executive and the balance of power.
Egalitarian Component Index: focused on gender equality and the political participation of minorities and social groups.
Participatory Component Index: related to the democratic participation channels, electoral or not: civil society organisations, direct democracy mechanisms, regional and local governments, etc.
Deliberative Component Index: which refers to the quality of the political debate, with variables based on respect and reasoning, consultation methods and social commitment, among other aspects.