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H.E. Ambassador Constancio Pinto currently is the Minister for Commerce,Industry and Environment, prior to this post, Ambassador Pinto served as  the Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Vice-Minister of Commerce, Industry and Environment of Timor-Leste. He served as Ambassador of Timor-Leste to the United States of America ( Nov. 2009 - August 2012) and to Mexico and Canada from (2011-2012); a leader of Timorese Resistance and author of East Timor Unfinished Struggle. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Democracy in Southeast Asia: Timor-Leste has the highest score

Democracy, like human development, is something that matters.  Furthermore, democracy is not an either-or, black-or-white, but has degrees, of greater or lesser magnitude.  In other words, it can be measured by an index, just as human development is measured by the Human Development Index (see “Lagging behind in Southeast Asia,” Opinion, 10/25/2014).
Since 2006, the Economic Intelligence Unit (www.eiu.com), an independent business firm within the Economist group, has been making a Democracy Index—being branded, it is capitalized—specifically for its cross-country analysis.  This Index is published for 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.  The latest report has scores for 167 countries, including 10 from Southeast Asia.
The Democracy Index is based on answers to a questionnaire of 60 items about conditions in a country, mostly answered by country specialists, but with up to 12 items drawn from existing national surveys.  The 60 items have five categories, allowing five category-indexes, which are averaged, without weights, into an overall index.  The indexes are scored from 0 to 10—democracy is complete at 10, and nonexistent at 0.
The Democracy Index classifies countries with a score of 8 or more as “Full Democracies.”  Those with scores from 6.0 to 7.9 are termed “Flawed Democracies.”  Those with scores from 4.0 to 5.9 are “Hybrid Regimes,” and those below 4.0 are “Authoritarian Regimes.”  Country No. 1 is Norway (9.93), and country No. 167 is North Korea (1.08), as of 2012.
Democracy in Southeast Asia. Based on the Democracy Index, the quality of democracy in Southeast Asia differs widely, but no country is a Full Democracy.  The highest score is that of Timor Leste (7.16)—which declared its independence from Portugal in 1975, was annexed by Indonesia in 1976, and regained its independence only in 2002.
Southeast Asia has five so-called Flawed Democracies, namely Timor Leste (7.16), Indonesia (6.76), Thailand (6.55), Malaysia (6.41), and the Philippines (6.30). It has two Hybrid Regimes, namely Singapore (5.88) and Cambodia (4.96).  And it has three Authoritarian Regimes: Vietnam (2.89), Myanmar or Burma (2.35), and Lao PDR (2.32).  (Brunei is not indexed, thus far.)
The world rankings in Southeast Asia, according to the Democracy Index, are: 43. Timor Leste, 53. Indonesia, 58. Thailand, 64. Malaysia, 69. Philippines, 81. Singapore, 100. Cambodia, 144. Vietnam, 155. Myanmar, and 156. Lao PDR.
Components of the index. The Democracy Index’s five categories are as follows (with the number of question-items per category in parentheses):
1. electoral process and pluralism (12),
2. functioning of government (14), 3. political participation (9), 4. political culture (8), and
5. civil liberties (17).  They are arranged here as sequenced in the questionnaire—as apparently addressed to the country-specialists.  Each question-item is answerable by Yes (which is given 1 point), or No (0 point), and sometimes is answerable by Moderate (0.5 point).  The category-index for a country seems to be the total number of points given to the country, divided by the maximum number of points for the category, times 10.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/80140/the-democracy-index#ixzz3J6D8v99t
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