What Countries Have Democratic Governments?

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Many countries have democratic governments under different constitutional forms. France, Germany, India, Ireland and Italy are constitutional republics, while Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and the United Kingdom are constitutional monarchies. The United States, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico have presidential systems. France has a semi-presidential system, whereas Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have parliamentary systems.

Democracy Ranking 2013 listed Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Austria and Belgium as the best democracies in the world. The Democracy Ranking Association applies a formula to measure the quality of a democracy, integrating freedom and other characteristics of the political system with the performance of non-political dimensions, such as gender equality, economy, knowledge, health and environment.

Other countries around the world, such as Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Malawi, Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Sudan and Uganda, have elements of democracy mixed with multiple ruling bodies or government types.

True democracies are characterized by fair, free and competitive elections between two or more distinct political parties, governing powers separated into different branches of government, the rule of law and the equal protection of human rights, civil rights and political freedoms for all citizens. The 20th century saw a period of sustained expansion of democracy; in the 21st century, it is the predominant political system in the world.