Assessing democracy as a form of governance has always been widely disputable among practitioners and law scientists. Single system for attributing democratic status to countries does not exist. However, there are different methods that are used to assess quality of democracy and to make a ranking of democratic states throughout the world. V-Dem is among them.
Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring democracy worldwide in different countries.
V-Dem institute is established in Sweden. Headquarters is based at the V-Dem Institute, the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
With investigators, project managers, regional managers, country coordinators, research assistants, and more than 2500 country experts, the V-Dem project is one of the largest social science data collection projects focusing on research. V-Dem database contains over 19 million data points.
The V-Dem project distinguishes high and mid-level indices of democracy. High-level indices are: Electoral, Liberal, Participatory, Deliberative and Egalitarian.
With special formula, collected data is used to define above mentioned indices. Data creates a clear picture for assessing the democratic processes in the countries. There are 21 Mid-level indices such as: Freedom of Expression and Alternative Sources of Information Index, Equality before the Law and Individual Liberty Index, Local and Regional Government Index, Civil Society Participation Index, Clean Elections Index etc. To define these indices, more than 350 indicators are assessed that are grouped in the following topics: Elections, Political parties, Direct democracy, Executive, Legislature, Deliberation, Judiciary, Civil Liberty, Sovereignty/State, Civil Society, Media, Political Equality and Historical V-Dem.
The diagram below shows the development of high-level indices for Georgia during 1990-2017. Each macro index has an interval, from low to high (0-1).
The analyze of the data (attached below) shows the quality of democracy in Georgia. Compared to 2016, there is a slight improvement of macro indices in 2017. Looking at the diagrams of mid-level indices and several indicators, it is obvious what hinders to fast and sustainable development of quality of democracy in Georgia. The following fields deteriorated in recent years and therefore had negative results on the quality of democracy: freedom of expression and alternative sources of information, equality before the law and individual liberty, independence of courts, access to justice, freedom of academic and cultural expression and social class equality, critical media, censorship in internet etc.
However, the fields that has been improved should be highlighted as well. In 2017 all discussed indicators under election and civil society topic has been improved. Government censorship on media has been reduced a little. Civil society engagement in political processes is also a bit improved, there is a sustainable development of power distribution by socioeconomic position.
V-Dem data highlights those issues (indicators) that need to be taken into consideration in decision making processes. Neglecting that indicators is later negatively reflected on the quality of democracy.
In the attached file, there is detailed data analyses for Georgia compared to the other countries in the neighborhood.
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