Monday, June 20, 2011

Freedom and the Party Internationals

The first, and so far only, governments to collapse because of the 2011 Arab Spring were those of the Constitutional Democratic Rally in Tunisia and the National Democratic Party in Egypt.  What got me thinking  is that these two parties were members of the international coalition of socialist parties known as Socialist International.  I began to wonder just how many dictatorial/unfair parities ran countries while maintaining membership in an organization that claims it is fighting for a "fair world."  The interest quickly spread to investigate other political party internationals to see just who supports the "freest" of systems.

To accomplish this I first created a list of countries where the government is primarily run by a member of either Socialist International, Liberal International, International Democratic Union, Centrist Democrat International, or the São Paulo Forum.  The list was then compared to Freedom House's Freedom of the World Index which breaks countries into free, partially free, and not free categories.

The results of the investigation are below

Socialist International
Coalition of socialist, social democratic, and labor parties such the Labour Party (UK), Australian Labor Party, and various Socialist Democratic parties.
Countries Where Party is the Primary Party in Government (In Government): 28
Free Countries: 19
Partially Free Countries: 7
Not Free: 2 (Angola and Zimbabwe)
Percent Free - Percent Not Free:  68% - 7%

Liberal International
Coalition of liberal parties including the Free Democratic Party of Germany and Democratic Alliance of South Africa
In Government: 9
Free: 5
Partially Free: 3
Not Free: 1 (Ivory Coast - government recently changed due to civil war)
Percent Free - Percent Not Free:  56% - 11%

International Democratic Union
Coalition of center-right conservative, some Christian democratic, and liberal conservative parties such as the United States' Republican Party, Australia's Liberal Party, and Spain's People's Party.
In Government:  17
Free: 13
Partially Free: 4
Not Free:  0
Percent Free - Percent Not Free: 76% - 0%

Centrist Democrat International
Originally Christian Democrat International, an Christian Democratic third way coalition.  Now a centrist coalition like most Christian Democratic Parties, Angola's UNITA, and the Democratic Party of Albania.
In Government:  11
Free:  9
Partially Free: 1
Not Free: 1  (Ivory Coast - government recently changed due to civil war)
Percent Free - Percent Not Free:  82% - 9%

São Paulo Forum
Coalition of Latin American and Central American left-leaning parties.
In Government:  11
Free: 5
Partially Free: 5
Not Free: 1 (Cuba)
Percent Free - Percent Unfree:  45% - 9%

The Ivory Coast presents an interesting note.  Before the Liberal International and Centrist Democrat International member party Rally of the Republicans took control after the Second Ivorian Civil War in April 2011, the Ivory Coast is run by the Ivorian Popular Front, a member of Socialist International.  So at the start of 2011 Socialist International ruling governments percentage free - not free were 61% to 16%.

When comparing the various party internationals it is clear that the Sao Paulo Forum, with a membership including the Communist Party of Cuba and other hard Leftist parties, has the biggest problems with promoting liberties.  Socialist International meanwhile has mostly freedom friendly parties but has allowed some horrible non-freedom supporting parties, and others that severely curb liberties.  Centrist Democrat International, International Democratic Union, then Liberal International have done a better job, not percent but still better, of ensuring their ruling parties keep promote freedoms.

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