Balkan ‘Dysfunctional’ Govts Blamed For Democratic Failings

Dysfunctional governments in Balkan countries continue to drive down democracy ratings in the region, according to Freedom Houses’s latest study, ‘Nations in Transit 2014’.

A new report by Freedom House ranked Kosovo, Bosnia, Albania and Macedonia lowest in the Balkan region in terms of democratic standards.

Kosovo is rated the worst in the region, with a democracy score of 5.14 on a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 represents the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest.

Kosovo is described as a ‘semi-consolidated authoritarian regime’, but, on a more positive note, Freedom House noted improvements to the electoral process as well as to civil society and national democratic governance.

With a score of 4.43 Bosnia and Herzegovina is described as having a ‘transitional government or hybrid regime’. Freedom House marked a decline in standards of national democratic governance there.

Albania also has a “hybrid” regime with a democratic score of 4.18. The report noted some improvements in the electoral process and in national democratic governance, however.

Macedonia scored 4. The report noted a marked decline in the independence of the media and in the fight against corruption, whiich earned it the description of a “transitional” or “hybrid” regime.

‘The Balkans registered some positive developments during the year, including Croatia’s EU accession and a historic agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.”

However, “dysfunctional governments continued to drive down democracy scores in the region overall’, Freedom house wrote.

Nations in Transit is a study published each year by Freedom House and measures the democratic development of 29 former Communist states from Central Europe to Eurasia.

The latest edition covers developments during 2013 and measures progress according to several indicators that include electoral process, civil society, independent media, national democratic governance, local government, the judicial framework and judicial independence, and corruption.

Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria ranked higher up on the list and are described as ‘semi-consolidated democracies’.

Montenegro scored 3.86, Croatia, 3.68, Serbia, 3.64 and Romania, 3.46. Bulgaria ranked best with a score of 3.25.

On a wider scale, Freedom House cited Russia’s undemocratic influence on its neighbours as one of the factors behind the overall decline in democracy in several of the countries.

Described as a ‘consolidated authoritarian regime’, Russia earned a democracy score of 6.29.

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