NICOSIA – Democracy, as Winston Churchill said, is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time, but Cypriots living on an island where Turkey occupies the northern third said they aren’t happy with the institution.
Some 60.3 percent of Cypriots are dissatisfied with democracy, just above the 58 percent average in a broad survey published by the University of Cambridge’s new Centre for the Future of Democracy, reported The Cyprus Mail.
The researchers analyzed a data set of more than four million people and found that satisfaction was at an all-time low in large democracies including the United Kingdom, United States, America, Brazil, Mexico and Australia with no report on whether they preferred populism, dictatorship or repressive governments.
The data combines more than 25 international surveys covering 154 countries between 1995 and 2020, with some dating back as far as 1973. “Across the globe, democracy is in a state of malaise,” report author Roberto Foa told the newspaper.
He said data showed that from the mid 1990s until 2008, Cypriots were overwhelmingly happy with their political system with only 27 percent dissatisfied in 1995, a trend that held until 2008, four years after Cyprus joined the European Union.
When the global financial crisis hit that year, people’s faith in democracy plummeted, along with surges in anti-Capitalist sentiments. Cyprus was struck with a financial and banking crisis in 2013 and needed a 10-billion euro ($11.06 billion) international bailout that came with conditions including confiscations of 47.5 percent of bank accounts of more than 100,000 euros ($110,555,) nearly wiping out many people’s life savings.
“If confidence in democracy has been slipping, it is because democratic institutions have been seen failing to address some of the major crises of our era, from economic crashes to the threat of global warming,” Foa said.
He also pointed to the recent European Election Study, which detailed information about Cyprus showing 39 percent of people didn’t vote in 2019 European elections, as they are dissatisfied and lacked trust in politics generally, the highest rate in the EU.