Countries with Flawed Democracies

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Nations in these categories have a formal electoral process that functions to some degree. Elected officials hold real power. However, elections in these countries are flawed, either because they are generally unfair, or because they formally exclude many people who should be included in the process. Entries in this section should explain the specific defects in a particular country's process.

Countries With Dysfunctional Democracies

These countries have a formal multi-party electoral system and regular elections, but local conditions are such that the political system falls far short of international standard for multi-party election systems, due to manipulation of the electoral process, outside influences, or continuing civil war.

  • Cameroon (no longer a one party state, but political opponents face arrest).
  • Chad. (the current President took power in a coup and subsequent elections have been questionable).
  • Egypt (Egypt's electoral process is characterized by state intimidation of the opposition and a suspect electoral system).
  • Kazakhstan (this is a cult of personality with elections which are not free and fair).
  • Kyrgzstan (the President has near dictatorial powers and elections are questionable)
  • Maldives (there has been a single President since 1978 who has held power in questionable elections)
  • Tajikistan (elections are not free and fair)
  • Togo (elections are not free and fair)
  • Turkmenistan (the political process is not free and fair)
  • Zimbabwe (elections were characterized by military intimidation and the arrest of opposition members)

Countries That Rule Substantial Number of People Without Full Democratic Rights

Nations in this category have free and fair elections that involve a significant proportion of the people who reside there, but a large number of people in areas controlled by these governments reside in areas which have no say in the national government and/or significant percentages of adults who reside there lack the right to vote in the national elections of the country that rules them. (Nations like France which give full democratic status to its large populations extra-territorial holdings and self-government to its low population territories are excluded, as are countries which have a few very small population territories).

  • Israel (The roughly 3 million people in the Palestinian Territories are ruled, without their consent and despite majority opposition within the Palestinian Territories, by the national government of Israel, although limited powers of local self-government through the Palestinian Authority exist. A large proportion of Arabs in Israel (although not all) are denied the right to vote on the grounds of lack of Israeli citizenship despite the fact that they were born in or reside permanently in Israel or the Palestinian territories.)
  • United States (the residents of the District of Columbia (population 570,000), Puerto Rico (population 3.8 million) (as well as other territories most notably Guam (population 211,000), the Virgin Islands (population 144,000), the Northern Mariana Islands (population 123,000) and American Samoa (population 95,000)) lack a say in Congress (all but the District of Columbia also lack a say in Presidential elections); periodic referrenda in Puerto Rico have affirmed support for the status quo rather than statehood or independence, the District of Columbia has actively sought greater Democratic rights to no avail; signficant numbers of people in the Southern U.S. are denied voting rights based on prior felony convictions (approaching 40% of African-American males in the South) and many longtime residents are denied a right to vote based on lack of citizenship although everyone born in the United States is a citizen). The US also has a fragmented, non-professional, politicized voting system without uniform voting rules. The use of different voting methods within the same states discriminates in favour of voters in counties with superior voting machines. The voting machines as a whole do not meet the usual industry security or transparency standards.
  • Japan (Japan denies citizenship and hence voting rights to large numbers of "foreigners" such as those of Korean ancestry, even when their families have resided in Japan for generations).
  • Germany (Germany denies citizenship and hence voting rights to large numbers of "foreigners" such as those of Turkish ancestry, even when their families have resided in Germany for generations).
  • Switzerland (Almost one in five residents of Switzerland do not have citizenship rights as they are viewed as "foreigners"; Switzerland is unique in the world in requiring all citizenship applications to be approved by popular vote in much of the country, resulting in significant barriers to citizenship).
  • Fiji (After a mass uprising Native Fijians formally denied the franchise to a near majority South Asian population, despite the fact that they previously had full democratic rights).
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