Five years ago, the Maldives elected a new leader, Mohamed Nasheed, in the first free and fair balloting in the country’s history. But Nasheed was forced from office in 2012, and with his political and institutional rivals now threatening to scuttle fresh elections this weekend, the democratic gains of recent years hang in the balance.
The findings for Freedom in the World 2013, which were released this week, reflect a complex picture for the state of global freedom. On one hand, the number of countries ranked in the Free category increased to 90, an impressive share of the world’s 195 sovereign states. At the same time, more countries, 27, suffered significant setbacks in their freedom indicators than showed notable gains, 16, marking the seventh consecutive year in which declines outnumbered improvements.