A new report from watchdog organisation Freedom House describes Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary as ‘hybrid regimes’ rather than democracies because of declining standards in governance, justice, elections and media freedom.
Freedom House’s latest ‘Nations in Transit’ report, published on Wednesday, strongly criticises Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary for falling democratic standards and classifies all three countries for the first time as ‘hybrid regimes’.
In the Balkans, “years of increasing state capture, abuse of power, and strongman tactics employed by President Aleksandar Vucic in Serbia and President Milo Djukanovic in Montenegro have tipped those countries over the edge -for the first time since 2003, they are no longer categorised as democracies in Nations in Transit,” the report adds.
“Albania, Serbia and Montenegro have seen the biggest decline – considering all Balkan countries, while Serbia and Montenegro have regressed in the fight against corruption. There is no effective action in response to high-level corruption cases, and there are instances of dissolution of institutions and reluctance to act to counteract corruption effectively, “Michael Smeltzer from Freedom House told the Voice of America.
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The report covers 29 countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the former Communist bloc, classifying them into five categories: consolidated democracies, semi-consolidated democracies, transitional or hybrid regimes, semi-consolidated authoritarian regimes and consolidated authoritarian regimes.
Zselyke Csaky from Freedom House said that, in the cases of Montenegro and Serbia, both countries have long had weak institutions and the reclassification was the result of gradual degradation.
In Serbia, Csaky said that there has been “a years-long deterioration under President Vucic, with attacks on the media, the lack of effective prosecution for corruption, and diminishing space for local governments”.
(Bizlife.rs, Freedom House, 06.05.2020)
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