Portugal has been ranked among the world’s top ten most democratic countries, taking 10th spot on the 2018 Democracy Report.
The international annual study by the V-Dem project analysed a total of 201 countries, and concludes that Portugal’s current position indicates the country has made progress at various levels. The report also found that freedom is receding in several places around the world. According to the report, Portugal’s change in government in 2015 triggered some changes, and its current ranking shows Portugal is bucking a wider trend of waning democracies. The V-Dem report is compiled by a global network of researchers in collaboration with experts based at the Gothenburg University. Preceding Portugal in the top 10 spots are Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland, Denmark, Costa Rica, Finland, Australia and New Zealand, in that order. According to Tiago Fernandes, coordinator of the V-Dem project for South Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece), “Portugal is one of the counter-trend countries, since the world trend of the last eight, ten years has seen, not necessarily a reversal, but some erosion of democracy, even in established democracies. “Not only have non-democratic countries become more authoritarian – such as Russia and Turkey - but consolidated democracies such as Brazil’s have also deteriorated”. In 2010 the V-Dem project started collecting data on almost every country in the world since 1900, and recently decided to go even further back, right until the French Revolution, although on fewer countries. Globally, it involves more than 5,000 people, including researchers and experts consulted to develop the ratings. The data for Southern Europe was calculated from answers to a questionnaire sent to about 250 scientists and national and international experts, and is the region in which most experts are consulted. In Portugal, it is funded by the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation and coordinated by Tiago Fernandes, of Lisbon’s Nova University’s Department of Political Science.