Democracy around the world is crumbling. This is the disappointing conclusion reached by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.
According to the published report, more and more countries are moving away from democracy and toward authoritarianism.
This gloomy picture is characteristic not only of young and vulnerable countries, but also of long-established states such as India or the United States.
Kevin Casas-Zamora, secretary general of the institute, believes that overall things are going well in Europe, and that countries such as Slovenia and Moldova have recently made significant progress.
Nevertheless, almost half of all democracies on the continent - a total of 17 countries - have undergone changes in the past five years.
In the big picture, democratic standards in Europe tend to plateau, that is, progress is still possible, but not always attainable.
This could lead to a part of a frustrated society looking for other ways to meet its expectations.
Casas-Zamora, a former vice president of Costa Rica, calls for the defense of what constitutes a democratic society, such as a free press, fair elections and checks and balances.
According to him, society must continue to expand and renew democracy through initiatives such as collective exchange or youth activism.
There are many examples around the world of societal resilience when democracy is absent or threatened: Ukrainians resisting Russian aggression, Iranian women fighting a theocratic regime, Chinese people protesting against the government's "zero covid" policy.
The authors of the report insist on the need to remain vigilant because democracy in the world is still fragile and no better off than it was in 1990.