The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2018 Democracy Index classified only 20 out of 165 countries as having fully functioning democracies in 2018. 14 were in Europe.
Globally, democracy remained stable in 2018 according to the report. Only 4.5% of the world’s population (12% of countries) lives in a fully functioning democracy.
Overall, the ranking shows a decline in the number of fully functioning democracies every year from 2008 until 2017. There was no change in 2018.
Once again Norway topped the global ranking with a score of 9.87. The Nordics occupied the top three spots, with Iceland and Sweden taking second and third place. Switzerland was not far behind, in tenth place with a score of 9.03.
In 25th place, the US remained a flawed democracy, with an overall score of 7.96. The functioning of its government and political culture in particular dragged down its overall score.
Low participation was the main thing that kept Switzerland from ranking nearer the top. It scored 7.78 on this measure, far behind Norway’s perfect score of 10.00. With a perfect participation score Switzerland would rise to third place overall with a score of 9.47.
Swiss voter participation dropped 15% between 1971 and 2015, reaching 48.5% – participation is the rate of eligible voters voting.
Participation in Switzerland varies significantly depending on the vote. Since 1971, the vote attracting the highest turnout was the 1992 vote on whether to join the EU (78.7%).