The Freedom House 2012 Report has just been issued, giving the number of Free, Partly Free and Not Free countries as well as a list of Electoral Democracies for the period 1 January-31 December 2011.
Given so much happened in 2011, there has been remarkably little change.
Only one country, Gambia, declined from the status of Partly Free to Not Free. One country, Tunisia, improved from Not Free to Partly Free.
Within these three categories, there were some improvements and disimprovements, even if there was no change in overall status. In terms of semi-presidential countries, there were only three changes. Ukraine and Yemen’s scores declined, even though the former remained Partly Free and the latter Not Free. By contrast, Niger’s score improved, even though it remained Partly Free. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan were given downward-tending arrows, even though neither their scores nor their status changed.
In terms of electoral democracies, one country, Nicaragua, lost this status. By contrast, three countries gained this status, including Niger. This is the only change that affects semi-presidential countries in this regard. The other countries to gain the status of an electoral democracy were Thailand and Tunisia, which, of course, lost its semi-presidential status following last year’s revolution and the constitutional changes there.