RANKED: The most authoritarian regimes in the world

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

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

PixabayAbu Dhabi, UAE.

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

David Ramos/GettyBaku, Azerbaijan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Electoral process and pluralism: 0.00

Functioning of government: 2.50

Political participation: 1.67

Political culture: 1.25

Civil liberties: 0.00

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