Estonia keeps 2nd place in Freedom House democratization index

(Pärnu Postimees/Scanpix)
8/21/2015 10:49 AM
Category: Politics

Nations in Transit 2015, an annual report by Freedom House, kept Estonia as the second most democratic of the 29 post-communist countries.

The report highlights the sorry state of the democratization process in the eastern bloc, where "it is actively opposed by forces that are determined to see it fail," Sylvana Habdank-Kołaczkowska, the project director of Nations in Transit, wrote in her foreword.

The number of consolidated authoritarian regimes has more than doubled since 2000. Russia, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have all openly disregarded democratic values, the report found.

Eurasia's averaged democracy score also continues to fall.

As in previous years, Estonia has the second highest score for democratization, ranking just below Slovenia.

Results of the Nations in Transit 2015. Click on the photo for an interactive map (Source: Freedomhouse.org).

Out of the 29 surveyed countries, Estonia led the way in independent media, judicial framework and independence, and corruption scores.

In a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of democratic progress, Estonia retained exactly the same scores as in previous years, neither improving nor retrogressing in any area.

The report does, nevertheless, mention that Estonian politics became more open in 2014 as two new parties emerged. "The parliament adopted several amendments to the Political Parties Act, including a reduction in the number of members necessary to form a political party, a halving of the candidate deposit, and increased public funding to parties that fail to meet the parliamentary threshold," it found.

It also points out that although most Estonians are not involved in political issues, local community groups have become more active, initiating campaigns on neighborhood problems and urban planning. This is not all surprising, considering that "most local government districts are small and lack the capacity to meet the public service needs of constituents." The local government reform plan stalled in 2014.

Click here for detailed country notes.

M. Oll

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