Economist Index: Spain a flawed democracy

Spain has been downgraded from the highest category of "full democracy" to the second category of "flawed democracy" in The Economist's Democracy Index reviewing 2021. With a score of 7.94 (compared to 8.12 points in 2020), the country now ranks 24th (22nd in 2020). Commentators blame the dispute over the independence of the judiciary for the drop in ranking but take different views on who is to blame.

Open/close all quotes
El Mundo (ES) /

That happens when enemies of the constitution rule

The ruling left-wing coalition has exacerbated a dangerous trend, El Mundo rages:

“This newspaper has been warning about how party rule and sectarianism are undermining the health of our democracy for years. This trend has intensified since Sánchez and Podemos incorporated their populist culture into the executive and legislative branches and tried to contaminate the judiciary as well. ... The key reason for the downgrade is the erosion of the independence of the judiciary. ... Spain is at the mercy of polarisation and separatist tensions. ... if we factor in the government's fragmentation and its alliance with the enemies of the constitution, it's hardly surprising that The Economist observes a regression in terms of democracy.”

La Vanguardia (ES) /

We must demand more from our politicians

La Vanguardia blames the opposition People's Party (PP) for the lower ranking:

“If in previous years the legal handling of the Catalonia conflict cost Spain tenths of points, this time it was the blockade of the General Council of the Judiciary that caused this change of category. The country is no longer among the champions of the democracies, and that is bad news. And above all a loss of standing. ... The latest blow to democracy is the PP's blockade of the Council of the Judiciary, which prevented its renewal. As [Spanish philosopher] Victoria Camps wrote, 'democracy requires not just institutions but also citizens'. As such, it is up to us to demand that our politicians reach agreements. Even if it is only to spare ourselves such shame.”