North Korea ranks least democratic in ’14 index

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North Korea ranks least democratic in ’14 index

North Korea ranked as the least democratic country with the lowest amount of economic freedom, according to a recent analysis by Britain’s Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Coming in last out of 167 countries, North Korea received an overall score of 1.06 out of 10, according to the EIU’s report on the Democracy Index for 2014. The annual index measured government function, political participation, political culture, civil liberties, the electoral process and pluralism, among others.

Having consistently pulled in some of the lowest scores on the democracy index, North Korea got a zero ranking for civil liberties and pluralism. The EIU, the research and analysis arm of the London-based media company Economist Group, has published the Democracy Index since 2006.

By contrast, South Korea ranked the second-highest among the Asian nations on the democracy index, coming in at 21, with an overall score of 8.06. Seoul’s score has increased over the past seven years, up from 7.88 in 2006. Democracy “can be seen as a set of practices and principles that institutionalize, and thereby, ultimately, protect freedom,” the EIU said. “The emergence of democracy in Asia has often been associated with direct action and street protest,” the report pointed out.

It added that South Korea’s democracy “took off after the June Democratic Uprising of 1987,” referring to mass protests nationwide in which the people demanded a direct election.

Northern European countries ranked high, with Norway coming in first with a score of 9.93, followed by Sweden, Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark. Japan scored the highest in Asia, with a score of 20. China, however, ranked low at 114. 

BY SARAH KIM [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]


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