The recently-released Freedom House report focused on countries in a 'transition period'" />

Democracy indicators worsen in South Caucasus countries

The recently-released Freedom House report focused on countries in a 'transition period'

International NGO Freedom House published its annual report yesterday on countries in transition periods.

The report analyses the condition of democracy in 29 countries where the political regime is characterized as ‘hybrid’, or only partially democratic.

The countries of the South Caucasus, the Baltic region, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and Russia were included. Several indicators were examined: election integrity, the development of civic society, the independence of the media and court system and the level of corruption. The indicators were assessed on a 1-7 scale, with 7 being the worst.

According to the report, the overall level of democracy worsened over the last year. The worst indicator was demonstrated by Turkmenistan at 6.96, while the best was Estonia at 1.82.

Azerbaijan fared only a bit better than Turkmenistan. Over the last years, the indicators mentioned above have gradually declined. In 2009, the democracy rating in Azerbaijan was 6.25. In 2018, it was down to 6.93.

Armenia is head of Azerbaijan by half a point; however, it is also encountering serious problems with the development of democracy. The report’s authors assert that over the past decade that Serzh Sargsyan ruled, all indicators have worsened, aside from media independence.

In comparison to last year, Armenia has not seen any improvement either in election transparency or in the human rights situation in the country.

Georgia was rated as a relatively more democratic state than the other countries of the South Caucasus. However, indicators in Georgia also worsened last year, and went from 4.61 to 4.68.

This was especially true of media independence. The main reason for this was pressure on TV station Rustavi 2. The station is critical of the government and the kidnapping of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli from Tbilisi.

Freedom House says that the level of ‘politicization of the court system’ in Georgia has also risen, which has negatively affected the overall condition of democracy in the country.

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