World's Top Democratic Governments: Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2010 (PHOTOS)

'Democracy Recession' Sweeps The Globe

Norwegians have the privilege of enjoying the most democratic government on the planet, a new report has found.

Now in its third edition, the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2010 aims to provide a snapshot of the state of democracy for 165 countries and two territories based on electoral process, political culture and civil liberties. The poll groups nations into four types of regimes: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

Norway came in at #1 as a "full democracy," while the U.S. is ranked at #17, just ahead of the U.K. (#19) to come in on the lower end of the "full democracy" spectrum. Designated as a "flawed democracy," France follows at #31, while Belarus, Qatar and North Korea are positioned toward the bottom of the poll as "authoritarian regimes."

The report also pinpoints what is described as a "democratic recession," with only 12.3% of the world's citizens enjoying access to a "full democracy," an overall decline reportedly sparred by political malaise in light of the global economic crisis.

View more details about the report here.

See photos of several countries and their rankings here:

Norway - #1

Democracy Index 2010

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