Saturday, December 07, 2013

Countries with "Democratic" in their official name

It used to be said that if a country's full name includes the word "democratic," then it probably isn't. I was looking over a list that included the full name of countries of the world and realized that is not completely true anymore. It used to be a word that communist block countries liked to put in their formal name. (think the German Democratic Republic) I guess they protested too much. But now many of those countries are gone or have changed into something else.

These days, I would count Algeria (the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria), East Timor (the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste), Nepal (the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal), São Tomé and Príncipe (the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe), and Sri Lanka (the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka), as functioning or partially functioning democracies.

Congo-Kinshasa (the Democratic Republic of Congo), Ethiopia (the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia), Laos (the Lao People's Democratic Republic), and North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea) are all essentially authoritarian, notwithstanding the democratic name. But they are now a minority of the "democratic" countries. So I hereby proclaim that old saw to be officially out of date.