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Using measurements of majority-rule, human rights, liberties, gap between highest and lower classes, which is the most 'democratic' Arab country today?

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    Income disparity (gap between highest and lower classes) is usually not considered a factor for democracy. – Philipp Jul 20 '15 at 12:44
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    I see. I would emphasize majority rule in your question then. While human rights, liberties, and income equality are characteristics of many contemporary democracies; monarchies can have those things and republics can ignore those things. For example the USA doesn't emphasize income equality, the English monarchy respected the rights and liberties of its subjects long before republicanism was the dominant force, and "Republican" revolutionary France frequently ignored human rights and liberties. – lazarusL Jul 20 '15 at 18:51
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    @Philipp I'd disagree that income gap is not a factor of democracy. If the income gap is so high that there is some people living in luxury surrounded by many people starving, there is high chance there is something wrong with democracy too. – Bregalad Jul 20 '15 at 21:04
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    @Bregalad Income disparity tells you how socialist or capitalist a country is, but not much about how democratic it is. The ginny index of the United States, for example, is about the same as such "shining democracies" as Turkmenistan, Qatar and the aforementioned Tunisia. – Philipp Jul 21 '15 at 7:29
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    @Philipp While you're probably right in conventional (western dictated) terms, an extreme income gap might indicate that the equal distirbution of resources - not income, but resources, including governmental resources like tax cuts, education etc., is not democratically controlled by the public. – Roy Jul 21 '15 at 9:02
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Democracy is hard to quantify, so I am trying an argument from authority and base my answers on the assessments of an organization which knows far more about politics and did far more research than me.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is a think tank which compiles an annual democracy index where they assign a democracy rating to each country. Factors considered in their rating system are:

  • electoral process and pluralism
  • civil liberties
  • functioning of government
  • political participation
  • political culture

The rating is a number between between 10.0 and 0.0.

  • 8.0 and above is considered a "full democracy" (24 countries)
  • 7.9 to 6.0 a "flawed democracy" (52 countries)
  • 5.9 to 4.0 a "hybrid regime" (39 countries)
  • below 4.0 an "authoritarian regime" (52 countries).

The 2014 results of the arab countries ordered from worst to best were:

Syria        1.74
Saudi Arabia 1.82
Sudan        2.54
U.Emirates   2.64
Yemen        2.76
Bahrain      2.87
Djibouti     2.99
Oman         3.15
Egypt        3.16
Qatar        3.18
Comoros      3.52
Jordan       3.76
Kuwait       3.78
Libya        3.80
Algeria      3.83
Morocco      4.00
Mauritania   4.17
Iraq         4.23
Palestine    4.72
Tunisia      6.31   

Source for these numbers: wikipedia

As you can see, the EIU considers Tunisia by far the most democratic of the Arab countries, but still only a "flawed democracy" and still far away from a "full democracy".

For comparison some numbers from some non-arab countries:

North Korea   1.08 (lowest in the world)
China         3.00
Russia        3.39
Brazil        7.38
India         7.92 
United States 8.11 
Germany       8.64
Norway        9.93 (highest in the world)
  • I was about to answer, citing these numbers, but you beat me to it. +1 – Avi Jul 21 '15 at 0:11
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    Tunisia is a Muslim country, but not an Arab one... – SJuan76 Sep 21 '15 at 7:16
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    @SJuan76 I was following the list from the Wikipedia article Arab World which considers Tunisia an arab country. When you think that this is wrong, you might want to address this on wikipedia itself instead of dealing with me as an intermediate. – Philipp Sep 21 '15 at 7:24
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    Odd that Lebanon didn't feature in this list. – Michael MacAskill Jan 29 at 22:48
  • Why isn't Lebanon listed? Out of all of them other than Tunisia, it is one of the best according to the Index. – Stormblessed Sep 9 at 4:16

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