According to Freedom House’s “Nations in Transit 2021” report, North Macedonia’s democratic score has increased from 3.75 to 3.82, meaning the country has registered democratic progress, as opposed to the majority of the countries in the region.
However, despite democratic progress, it’s still ranked among countries with transitional or hybrid regimes. These countries are typically electoral democracies where democratic institutions are fragile, and substantial challenges to the protection of political rights and civil liberties exist.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only other country in the region that has registered progress, while Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Bulgaria have all rolled back.
According to Freedom House, countries all over the region are turning away from democracy or find themselves trapped in cycle of setbacks and partial recoveries. In the 2021 edition of “Nations in Transit”, covering the events of 2020, a total of 18 countries suffered declines in their democracy scores; only 6 countries’ scores improved, while 5 countries experienced no net change.
The report presents North Macedonia as a positive example and a country that has experienced democratic improvement.
“In North Macedonia, Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s center-left government has repaired some of the institutional damage wrought by his right-wing populist predecessor, and still has a chance to deliver the benefits of democracy,” reads the report.
A success story is especially needed in the Balkans, where democratic gains have been rolled back in most countries, it adds.
However, Freedom House underlines, by confronting autocratic behavior and standing up for democratic values, civil society, political leaders, and governments can shape the conversation.