RANKED: The most authoritarian regimes in the world

Riot police and protesters clash outside the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in November 2011.

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Riot police and protesters clash outside the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in November 2011.
source
FarsNews/Getty

The Economist Intelligence Unit has released its latest Democracy Index this week, which ranks 167 countries according to political and civic freedom.

Countries are given a score out of 10 based on five criteria. Above eight is a “full democracy,” while below four is an “authoritarian regime.”

Scandinavian countries topped the list and the US remained a “flawed democracy” in this index.

The study has five criteria: Whether elections are free and fair (“electoral process and pluralism”), whether governments have checks and balances (“functioning of government”), whether citizens are included in politics (“political participation”), the level of support for the government (“political culture”), and whether people have freedom of expression (“civil liberties”).

Below are the world’s most authoritarian regimes:


21. United Arab Emirates — 2.69/10

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Abu Dhabi, UAE.
source
Pixabay

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 3.57

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 2.65


20. Azerbaijan — 2.65

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Baku, Azerbaijan.
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David Ramos/Getty

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.50

Functioning of government: 2.14

Political participation: 3.33

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 3.53


19. Afghanistan — 2.55

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US soldiers walk past a poppy field in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
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ResoluteSupportMedia/Flickr

Electoral process and pluralism: 2.50

Functioning of government: 1.14

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 2.50

Civil liberties: 3.82


18. Iran — 2.45

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Riot police and protesters clash as demonstrators attempt to storm the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in November 2011.
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FarsNews/Getty

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 3.21

Political participation: 4.44

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 1.47


=16. Eritrea — 2.37

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Asmara, Eritrea.
source
Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.14

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 6.88

Civil liberties: 1.18


=16. Laos — 2.37

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.83

Functioning of government: 2.86

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 1.47


15. Burundi — 2.33

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Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza in Bujumbura in July 2017.
source
Evrard Ngendakumana/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.43

Political participation: 3.89

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 2.35


14. Libya — 2.32

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A damaged fruit shop after two car bombs went off in Benghazi, Libya, in January 2018.
source
Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 1.00

Functioning of government: 0.36

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 5.63

Civil liberties: 2.94


13. Sudan — 2.15

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Sudan’s President Omar al Bashir at a celebration in December 2017.
source
Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 1.79

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 1.18


12. Yemen — 2.07

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Smoke rises after an airstrike on the city of Saada, Yemen, in January 2018.
source
Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 4.44

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.88


11. Guinea-Bissau — 1.98

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Guinea-Bissau President Jose Mario Vaz in Bissau in April 2014.
source
Joe Penney/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 1.67

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 2.35


10. Uzbekistan — 1.95

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Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in September 2016.
source
Muhammadsharif Mamatkulov/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.08

Functioning of government: 1.86

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.59


=8. Saudi Arabia — 1.93

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.86

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 3.13

Civil liberties: 1.47


=8. Tajikistan — 1.93

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Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in November 2015.
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Brendan Smialowski/Pool/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.08

Functioning of government: 0.79

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 6.25

Civil liberties: 0.88


7. Equatorial Guinea — 1.81

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President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January 2017.
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Tiksa Negeri/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.43

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 4.38

Civil liberties: 1.47


6. Turkmenistan — 1.72

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.79

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 5.00

Civil liberties: 0.59


5. Democratic Republic of Congo — 1.61

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Riot policemen fire tear gas at a protest against President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, in January 2018.
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Kenny Katombe/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.50

Functioning of government: 0.71

Political participation: 2.22

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 0.88


4. Central African Republic — 1.52

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Bangui, Central African Republic, in February 2016.
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REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Electoral process and pluralism: 2.25

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 1.11

Political culture: 1.88

Civil liberties: 2.35


3. Chad — 1.50

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Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno in N’Djamena in December 2016.
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Alain Jocard/Pool/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 1.11

Political culture: 3.75

Civil liberties: 2.65


2. Syria — 1.43

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A Syria Civil Defence member carries a wounded child in the besieged town of Hamoria in January 2018.
source
Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 0.00

Political participation: 2.78

Political culture: 4.38

Civil liberties: 0.00


1. North Korea —1.08

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.50

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 1.25

Civil liberties: 0.00