Economist Study Ranks France as ‘Failing Democracy’

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 31: Mounted Police patrol around the Arc de Triomphe on the second day of national lockdown confinement as part of new increased security in the wake of recent terrorist attacks on October 31, 2020 in Paris, France. France has imposed another national lockdown for a minimum …
Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The Economist ranked France as a “failing democracy” due to the restrictions on freedoms Emmanuel Macron’s government imposed during the Wuhan virus pandemic.

According to a study conducted by the British magazine, basic democratic freedoms have fallen by as much as 70 per cent in 2020 due to the restrictions imposed by many states to stop the Chinese coronavirus.

“The coronavirus pandemic has caused a huge decline in democratic freedoms, leading the average index score to an all-time low,” the magazine said, according to L’Obs.

While the suppression of freedoms has taken place in much of the world in response to the pandemic, the study noted that the “suppression of individual freedoms in advanced democracies was the most striking fact of 2020”.

Of the 167 countries listed in the study, France ranked 26th, with a democracy index of 7.99 out of 10 — a drop from the previous year’s 8.12, putting the country below the threshold for “full-fledged democracy” and into the category of “failing democracy”.

The overall global result of the survey saw an average score of 5.37 out of 10, with the magazine’s researchers noting that it was the worst result ever seen since the annual study began in 2006.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, France has undertaken two total lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus. The government has so far denied it will take the country into a third lockdown, despite rising daily numbers of new coronavirus infections.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday: “We must stick with the current restrictions we already have in place… but the situation today does not justify a new national lockdown.”

France, like many other European countries, has seen protests against the lockdown measures. In November, hundreds of Roman Catholics demonstrated, demanding access to church services.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.