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

  • 11
    Income disparity (gap between highest and lower classes) is usually not considered a factor for democracy.
    – Philipp
    Jul 20, 2015 at 12:44
  • 2
    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, 2015 at 18:51
  • 2
    @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, 2015 at 21:04
  • 4
    @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, 2015 at 7:29
  • 2
    @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, 2015 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


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)
  • 1
    Tunisia is a Muslim country, but not an Arab one...
    – SJuan76
    Sep 21, 2015 at 7:16
  • 9
    @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, 2015 at 7:24
  • 4
    Odd that Lebanon didn't feature in this list. Jan 29, 2019 at 22:48
  • 1
    Why isn't Lebanon listed? Out of all of them other than Tunisia, it is one of the best according to the Index. Sep 9, 2019 at 4:16
  • @SJuan76: Tunisia is certainly an Arab country: main language Arabic, main ethnic group Arabs (98%). Why would you think otherwise?
    – user103496
    Jan 11 at 2:58

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