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BP report

As a suitable environment has been prevailing in Bangladesh for proper democratic practice, the country has gained four notches on the latest Democracy, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Bangladesh ranks 88th with an overall score of 5.57 on the Democracy Index 2018, compared to the 92nd position with a score of 5.43 a year ago.

The report comes as good news to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who formed a government for an unprecedented fourth term after an overwhelming victory in the 11th parliamentary election.

The report reveals that despite a growing disillusionment with formal political institutions, political participation is on the rise in almost every region around the world, with the population being spurred into political action.

The index which assesses the global state of democracy in 2018 also reveals that in the past decade, women’s political participation has improved more than any other single indicator in the model.

China rose nine places in the global ranking, although it remains classified as an authoritarian regime and its climb in the index mainly reflects the worsening scores of other countries in the index, particularly in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

Sri Lanka fell back more than any other country in the region. It saw a marked decrease in its score from 6.48 in 2017 to 6.19, driven by a worsening in the functioning of government and in civil liberties.

The country plunged into a constitutional crisis in late October when the president, Maithripala Sirisena, announced the dismissal of the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, replacing him with an ally, Mahinda Rajapaksa (who served as president in 2005-15).

The EIU report released on Wednesday says only countries with scores above 8 are categorised as ‘full’ democracies.

Little change was felt in Asia’s two largest democracies: India (ranked 41st) and Indonesia (65th). Both are readying themselves for elections in 2019.

The campaign period in Indonesia kicked off in September. Running for a second term, the president, Joko Widodo (known as Jokowi), will lack the advantage he had when he ran in 2014 of being a newcomer pressing for reform.

In India, the image of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, resonates with an aspiring middle class, and Modi has also maintained the support of business. But Modi is not unassailable; a lack of attention to the rural economy has fuelled anti-government protests by farmers, according to the EIU report.

In his term, moreover, job growth has been poor, institutional reforms have been slow to come, and those that have been passed have been poorly implemented.

So far, Modi has managed to deflect criticism, but his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party—the largest in the ruling National Democratic Alliance coalition—will be contesting the 2019 elections on a weak footing at state level. Having also lost the support of many small regional parties, the coalition could fail to gain a clear majority in parliament.