Cyprus Mail

Majority of Cypriots dissatisfied with democracy

60.3 per cent of Cypriots are dissatisfied with democracy, just above the 58 per cent average in a broad survey published by the University of Cambridge.

In a report released earlier this week, researchers from Cambridge University’s new Centre for the Future of Democracy analysed a data set of more than four million people and found that satisfaction was at an all-time low in large democracies including the UK, America, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.

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 Cyprus Mail on Friday.

Foa said data showed that from the mid 1990s until 2008, Cypriots were overwhelmingly happy with their political system.

In 1995 only about 27 per cent were dissatisfied, and this trend continued until about 2008.

In 2004 there were two seismic political events for Cyprus. The island joined the EU and voted in the reunification referendum. In this year there was a slight blip and dissatisfaction rose to about 29 per cent, but again remained steady until 2008.

But in 2008 the global financial crisis which wrecked the world economy. Public sentiment in Cyprus on democracy plummeted and about 55 per cent were unhappy with their political system.

But in Cyprus a second crisis struck in 2013 – this time more focused on the island.

In that year the infamous haircut took force, shaving off millions from peoples’ personal bank accounts overnight – and the mood shifted dramatically against democracy.

By 2015 about 73 per cent of Cypriots were dissatisfied. This has since dropped to about 60 per cent.

“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.

Most notable was that 39 per cent of Cypriots did not vote in 2019 European elections, as they are dissatisfied and lacked trust in politics in general. This was the highest out of any EU country.

The proportion of those unhappy with democracy in the UK was 47 per cent in 1995. The lowest point was reached in 2005 when only 33 per cent were dissatisfied, but again shot up to a record 61 per cent dissatisfaction rate in 2019.



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