Democracy in Bulgaria in Decline for 8th Consecutive Year – Freedom House

Society | June 25, 2015, Thursday // 10:05|  views

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Democracy in Bulgaria has been in decline for the past 8 years, according to an annual report of US-based NGO Freedom House.

Bulgaria’s democracy score registers a minor change from 3.25 to 3.29 on an annual basis, according to the Nations in Transit 2015 report of Freedom House.

Bulgaria is ranked as a semi-consolidated democracy.

The survey tales into account the following indicators – electoral process, civil society, independent media, national democratic governance, independent media, local democratic governance, national democratic governance, judicial framework and independence, and corruption.

The democracy scores and regime ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest. The 2015 ratings reflect the period January 1 through December 31, 2014.

Bulgaria scores 2.25 in the electoral process category, 2.25 in the civil society category, 4.00 n the independent media category, 3.75 in the national democratic governance category, 3.00 in the local democratic governance category, 3.50 in the judicial framework and independence category, and 4.25 in the corruption category.

Bulgaria’s score has only changed in one category on an annual basis, judicial framework and independence, from 3.25 to 3.50, which causes the country’s overall democracy score to deteriorate from 3.25 to 3.29.

The findings of the 2015 edition of Nations in Transit (NIT), Freedom House’s annual study of democratic governance in 29 countries from Central Europe to Central Asia.

Bulgaria ranks 9th out of 29 countries.

Of the 29 countries assessed for 2014, 13 are rated as democracies, 6 as transitional regimes, and 10 as authoritarian regimes.

As in each of the previous 10 years, the average democracy score declined in 2014, with 12 countries suffering downgrades.

“Since the collapse of communism, Bulgaria has consolidated a system of democratic institutions and joined its neighbors as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and the European Union (EU) in 2007. A number of general, presidential, and local elections have been held freely, fairly, and without disturbance,” the NGO states.

“These successes notwithstanding, political stability has eluded Bulgarian politics in the last few years and the country’s democratic institutions have displayed a number of weaknesses,” Freedom House informs.

“Since 2012, Bulgaria has had three governments and two caretaker cabinets. Inefficiency and graft within the political system as a whole, and the judiciary in particular, are considered major obstacles in the country’s fight against high-level corruption and organized crime.

Public trust in democratic institutions is low, and some ethnic minorities face discrimination. In 2014, the country struggled with a banking crisis that grew out of the cozy relationship between businessmen and politicians. Following months of political gridlock, in October, Bulgaria held its second early elections in less than 18 months,” the report states.

“The year 2015 will be challenging for Bulgaria’s political system. The coalition government will have to preserve its majority in the parliament while implementing policies that will not make it popular in the country. Local elections are scheduled for October, and competition on the local level will dominate political discourse in the national political arena as well,” Freedom House predicts.

The full report is available here.

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Tags: freedom house, NGO, democracy, nations in transit


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