Economist drops Spain to "flawed democracy"

Analysis: Magazine cites political fight over renewal of the judicial council, parliamentary fragmentation, political corruption and Catalan separatism.
By Matthew Bennett
Feb 10, 2022, 10:23 am
Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:00 am


1. The Economist has kicked Spain off its list of “full democracies”. They have dropped us to “flawed democracy”. They cite the unresolved political fight over the renewal of the judicial council, parliamentary fragmentation, political corruption and Catalan separatism.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 10:23 am | On Twitter

2. Spain's decline began in 2017, says The Economist, due to the Catalan separatist crisis, but this year: “Spain's relegation in 2021 is the result mainly of a downgrade in its score for judicial independence”. Chile has also been punished this year.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 10:30 am | On Twitter

3. The Economist cites a Pew study, from October last year, on the lack of people's satisfaction with their political systems. Overall, on average, 56% of people in the world would like to see major reform. In Spain, this percentage rises to 86%, one of the highest global scores.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 10:35 am | On Twitter

4. At the European level, Spain's new classification as “flawed democracy” places the country clearly in the bottom half of the table, somewhat better than Portugal and Italy. That dream about being a “Denmark of the South” is still a distant...

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 10:39 am | On Twitter

5. And globally, Spain is now in the same group as Moldova, Montenegro and North Macedonia, which have moved up a category having succeeded in improving from the “hybrid regimes” level. Mexico has gone down from “flawed democracy” to “hybrid regime”.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 10:46 am | On Twitter

6. Here is Spain's Economist democracy ranking score over the years, with the political color of the government at the time. Zapatero > Rajoy > Catalan separatism > Sánchez and Podemos. Sanchez has managed to achieve the first “flawed” score for the country.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:01 am | On Twitter

7. Here is the Pew study (pdf) referred to by The Economist. 65% of Spaniards are “not satisfied” with the functioning of democracy in their country. Only Greece gets a higher percentage (68%). Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:16 am | On Twitter

8. Of the 86% of Spaniards who say that the political system needs to be reformed (the second highest score, after Italy), 54% (by far the highest score) say it needs to be completely reformed.

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:19 am | On Twitter

9. The Pew report also contains this table on populist parties in Europe. Podemos is only slightly less to the far-left than France Insoumise (Mélenchon). Vox is only slightly less to the far-right than National Rally (Le Pen).

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:27 am | On Twitter

10. In January, the Fraser Institute in Canada published a new “misery index"—which combines the unemployment rate with the inflation rate—for 2021 (pdf). Which country got the worst score? Spain. Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 11:33 am | On Twitter

17. Political reactions start to come in to the new Economist classification for Spain. Gamarra (PP, spokeswoman): “Spain deserves to continue to enjoy the full democracy that we have all built together. Sanchez doesn't have a problem, he is the problem”. Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 12:44 pm | On Twitter

18. Fernández (PP, Catalonia) says the Spain the PP governed was the full democracy and the Spain of “Sánchez, pardons, empathy and sucking up to the separatists” is the flawed one. Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 1:03 pm | On Twitter

19. Tertsch (Vox, Europe): “It was high time they found out abroad about the liquidation of Spain's democracy by the socialist-communist government”. This is ammunition for the opposition, for sure. How will the PSOE and Podemos defend themselves today? Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 1:07 pm | On Twitter

20. The Economist's report on Spain as a "flawed democracy" reaches the Madrid regional parliament. First Minister Ayuso (PP) berates the socialists for “the damage” that Sánchez is doing to Spain. Via @okdiario Link

Published: Feb 10, 2022, 1:55 pm | On Twitter

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