Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope

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On October 23, 2011, Libya overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, marking a pivotal point of the Arab Spring and triggering a wave of pro-democracy protests across the region. As the Arab Spring’s anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions rumbled on, some countries managed to topple their dictator-led governments, while others were less successful.

The Arab World was rocked by the Arab Spring, ten years after Libya declared itself liberated from its dictatorship, the picture of democracy across the region is decidedly mixed.

Even among countries that managed to topple their dictator-led governments in connection with the Arab Spring, the region’s political landscape varies drastically today.

This highlights the volatility that can come with sudden political change.

The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index (EIU), provides a snapshot of the state of world democracy, the index measures how democratic a country’s rule is based on five categories.

These include: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation, and political culture.

Some countries have managed to improve their scores on the EIU Democracy Index, but others have relapsed into dictator led societies once again.

Which countries have made democratic gains?

Tunisia, which overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, achieved a score of 6.59 out of 10 in the latest index.

This is an impressive climb of 90 ranks since 2010, making it the 54th most democratic country in the world.

Although there were protests in Algeria and Morocco there were no direct governmental changes as a result of the Arab Spring.

Despite this democratic gains have been made in both countries in recent years.

Algeria rose ten ranks with a score of 3.77 and Morocco climbed higher still, jumping by 20 places between 2010 and 2020 with a score of five out of ten.

Which countries have become less democratic?

In contrast to Tunisia Algeria and Morocco, sadly Libya, Yemen and Syria have all seen their scores plummet.

Yemen has seen the collapse of two governments in the past decade.

In 2012 and 2015 two governments were overthrown, in the chaos that has reigned since democracy has taken a hit.

Yemen has fallen 11 ranks and is now in the bottom ten of the world’s least democratic countries.

Libya now shared a rant with Yemen, scoring a dismally low democracy score of 1.95 out of 10.

Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad, has aggressively defended his rule sparking a civil war in the process that killed hundreds of thousands of people to date.

This has caused Syria to now be ranked as one of the five least democratic in the world, dropping 12 ranks between 2010 to 2020.

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