Austria not among global top 10 regarding democracy

Austria has failed to make the top 10 in a think tank’s latest global democracy ranking.The Vienna-based Democracy Ranking Association announced today (Mon) Norway, which came second in 2009, toppled last year’s leader Sweden to grab first place in its 2010 Democracy Ranking.Finland takes third place ahead of Switzerland and Denmark. New Zealand makes sixth place followed by the Netherlands, Ireland and Germany. The United Kingdom comes 10th ahead of Austria which reached ninth place in last year’s ranking.The United States of America takes 15th place, up one spot year on year, while the Philippines, the Central African Republic and Niger come last among the 100 investigated countries.The Democracy Ranking Association explained it considered indicators such as politics, gender issues and economic aspects for its study.The think tank said Nepal did best when it comes to improving the situation between 2005 and 2006 and from 2008 to 2009. Serbia takes second place in the 2010 Democracy Improvement Ranking ahead of Poland.Claims that democracy suffered a slight blow in Austria come shortly after a non-government organisation’s (NGO) revelation that nine per cent of Austrians bribed authorities last year.Transparency International (TI) announced last week almost one in 10 Austrians admitted having paid bribes to officials of various sectors of public life in 2009. The internationally represented NGO also found that, with 49 per cent, nearly one out of two people living in Austria believe corruption is set to soar.The nine per cent of Austrians admitting corrupt activity stand in contrast to the European Union (EU) average of just five per cent. Denmark and Norway did best with bribe rates of zero to one per cent, while Lithuania (34 per cent) came last within the EU.Afghanistan, Iraq and many African countries found themselves at the end of TI’s global ranking topped by New Zealand and Singapore. The NGO spoke with more than 91,000 people in 86 countries for its study.