The countries of the South Caucasus on the Economist's annual Democracy Index
The index is calculated annually by The Economist magazine and is one of the most influential ratings in the global economy, as investors are strongly guided by it when making decisions.
Georgia dropped from 78th to 89th position in 2018.
Over the past 12 years, Georgia’s rating had steadily increased, rising by 25 positions. A loss of almost 50 per cent of its gained progress is a very serious signal.
The Economist justifies the rating by pointing out billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s return to politics and the resignation of former PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili due to his disagreements with Ivanishvili.
Most analysts agree that the main factor that led to a drop in Georgia’s rating was the practical payoff of voters in the December 2018 presidential election. Right before the elections, the ruling Georgian Dream party promised to write off citizens’ bank debts, which it did.
“Georgia’s lower ranking in the democracy index was expected after the elections … It is clear that the indicators assessing the level of democracy in Georgia will fall further,” says Ghia Nodia, a professor of Political Science at Ilia University and the founder of the Caucasus Institute of Peace, Democracy and Development.
Armenia achieved remarkable success in the 2018 ranking, rising from 111th to 103rd place.
The Economist pointed to the Velvet Revolution of April 2018, and the reform-oriented government that took power in the country as a result.
Moreover, the report says that the likelihood of a full-scale war with neighboring Azerbaijan is considered to be not excluded, but unlikely.
Azerbaijan lost one position according to The Economist’s rating, moving from 148th place to 149th, and remained in the group of authoritarian states.
The Economist writes that the main factor for Azerbaijan’s move downwards were violations during the elections, in which Ilham Aliyev took the presidency for the fourth time, as well as the lack of competition in the economy.