Armenia has improved the democracy score from 2.93 to 3.00 in the Nations in Transit 2020 report published by the Freedom House.
Armenia has thus earned the largest two-year improvement ever recorded in Nations in Transit.
Azerbaijan has scored 1.14 (up from 1.07 last year), Georgia’s score has dropped from 3.29 to 3.25, Russia’s score has declined from 1.43 to 1.39.
“Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will now face the difficult challenge of managing expectations, maintaining trust, and restructuring corrupt systems without contravening democratic norms,” the report stresses.
The report notes that the new government has pursued significant, democratic reforms since crushing the old ruling party in the parliamentary elections.
The Freedom House recommends that Armenia invest heavily in programs that support the rule of law and strengthen independent institutions, including comprehensive judicial and police reforms.
“A national consensus in favor of political change, the rule of law, and the elimination of systemic corruption formed the basis of Armenia’s 2018 Velvet Revolution. This public demand provides a historic opportunity for democracy’s advocates inside and outside the country,” the report reads.
It notes that both the United States and the EU have stepped up support, but their programs should also focus on maintaining social cohesion and addressing political polarization. Overcoming these challenges could be the key to success for any other reforms.
Nations in Transit 2020 evaluates the state of democracy in the region stretching from Central Europe to Central Asia.
The 22nd edition of this annual study covers events from January 1 through December 31, 2019.
In consultation with country report authors, a panel of expert advisers, and a group of regional expert reviewers, Freedom House provides numerical ratings for each country on seven indicators: National Democratic Governance, Electoral Process, Civil Society, Independent Media, Local Democratic Governance, Judicial Framework and Independence, Corruption.
The Democracy Score is a straight average of the seven indicators and is also expressed as a percentage, where 0 represents the lowest and 100 the highest level of democracy.
Countries with a score of 2.01 to 3.00 are classified as Semi-Consolidated Authoritarian Regimes. Countries receiving this score attempt to mask authoritarianism or rely on informal power structures with limited respect for the institutions and practices of democracy.
Countries with a score of 3.01–4.00 are classified as Transitional or Hybrid Regimes. Countries receiving this score are typically electoral democracies where democratic institutions are fragile, and substantial challenges to the protection of political rights and civil liberties exist.