Top 10 Non-Democratic Countries in the World
We live in a globalizing world where the prominent ideology behind a state is that of Democracy. Originating in the ancient times of Greek and Roman republics Democracy has become the most popular form of governance. So much so that in the recent past there have been clashes and military warfare over the existence of other forms of governance. The first world countries have been in staunch opposition of existence of any other form beyond democracy. The reasons have been many. For starters, they claim that Democracy preserves human rights and guarantees basic fundamental rights to the citizens beside ensuring a thriving economic life. This however has been challenged by many other who say that the first world is only acting as the flag bearer of democracy because it’s easier for these nations to control the economic structure of a country if it has democracy in place without violating the so called human rights as propounded by the United Nations. The debate has been going on for the past few decades and will continue to go on as some nations change from Monarchy or other forms of governance to Democracy via revolutions or the will of the governing body themselves. However, at the same time there are nations which continue to work on alternate principals and will probably stretch the debate further since many of them have been showing incredible growth rates in their GDP.
Bhutan was traditionally an absolute monarchy implying that the monarch has overarching powers and is the head of the state. However, in 2008 Bhutan moved from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. This didn’t take place all at once; there were reforms which the King had introduced since the late 1990s. A council of ministers was added as well as clauses involving impeachment of the king following a 2/3rd majority were added. In 2005 Jigme Singme Wangchuk announced that he would conduct general elections in 2008. Following which two houses were created and the elections to the upper and lower houses happened in 2008 and the King became the head of constitutional monarchy.
Vietnam has a Communist government. The formation of which was a consequence of a historical process. Till 1885 Vietnam was comparatively sovereign and was ruled by Dynastic Kings. In 1885 French colonies began incursion into Vietnamese territories and as a result it was included into the French Indochina. Japanese too invaded Vietnam in the early 1900s and exploited its natural resources. As a result of all of this in 1941 Viet national movement against foreign intrusions into Vietnamese territory emerged under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. The defeat of French loyalists resulted in formation of two states- North had a democratic and south a Monarchy. The after story has been the Vietnamese Wars between the North and South with America coming into the picture and supporting the South against North Communist state which took aid from the Soviet Russia. North emerged victorious and resulted in the combining of both states into a communist Vietnam where the government launched its collectivization processes soon afterwards.
From 1916-1970 Qatar was under the British Rule. Historically Qatar had been closer to the Islam nations with a major Islamist population. In 1971 Qatar gained its independence from the British Colonial rule following which through a palace coup Khalifa Bin Hamad seized power. Due to nationalization of its oil resources Qatar became rich in a very small space of time. Under successors of Bin Hamad Qatar has seen moderate liberalization with forming of a constitution and granting of women suffrage rights. Al-Jazeera which has emerged as one of the leading media houses of the international press originated in Qatar. It has also been chosen to host the 2022 FIFA world cup.
7. North Korea
North Korea emerged as the partition of Korean peninsula into North and South following the end of Japanese occupation after its defeat in the WWII. North Korea has adopted a very different stance on its political leanings. For a long time it was perceived as a communist state but the recent readings of their constitution leads the scholars to describe their stance as a very racialist nationalism. North Korea has been in conflict with South Korea since its inception in 1950 and has tagged America as it’s “sworn enemy.”
Cuba is an island country in the Caribbean known in popular culture due to Che Guevra and the communist revolution of the 1950s. Till 1950s since the end of Spanish American wars there were various regimes which were established there was a democratic state present on the eve of the revolution but due to the economic control by the USA a guerrilla warfare movement was started by Fidel Castro which established a socialist state in 1963. There’s only one communist party and no party is allowed to campaign on the island. Several sanctions were put on Cuba by US but were all eventually lifted as it economically grew sustainable.
Oman is a hereditary monarchy where the ultimate power rests with the sultan of the country. The law is firmly established on basis of the Sharia Islamic Law. The legislature is bicameral, members of upper house are appointed by the Sultan and the lower house is elected by popular vote. No party is allowed to function. The economy is based on Oil and gas; however with the reserves shrinking the prime aim of the government now is to diversify agriculture.
4. United Arab Emirates
UAE is a federation of absolute hereditary monarchies in the Southwest Asia bordering Oman. It’s made of seven emirs of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm al-Qaiwain and Rais-al-Khamiah. The presidency and prime minster poster is hereditary with the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi holding the presidency and that of Dubai the prime minister post. The responsibilities of the state are divided between emirates and the center. A part of emirates revenue goes into the central budget. The state reserves all the fundamental and human rights to its inhabitants and the emirates have become a hotspot for business and is one of the prime residence for expatriates.
3. Vatican City
Vatican city has an elective absolute monarchy as the mode of governance. The head is the religious head of Roman Catholic Church that is the Pope. It’s a very special case of non-hereditary monarchy as the pope enjoys prime judicial, executive and legislative powers. Historically Vatican City was established as an independent nation in 1929 after a Treaty with the Italian King. Rome however had been the traditional seat of the Christian Church since 5th century AD. During the world wars all the nations treated Vatican as a neutral territory and since its establishment and confiscation of a majority of papal lands the Vatican has been a spiritual center. It’s one of the only states recognized by the UN which is not an official member.
2. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is a theocratic absolute monarchy. In 1992 Sharia Law was declared the law of the state and Quran and the Sunnah act as the constitution guidelines while no other constitution exists. No political parties exist in Saudi and the government has been titled authoritarian on many instances. Ulema have a unique and direct role in the government. Saudi remains a prime mover in West’s influence in the Middle east. It’s also the founding member of the Arab League and moderates OPEC pricing. It’s also a moderator in the Israeli-Palestine issue. It’s one of the leading Oil suppliers to America. The Iran-Saudi dynamics continues to guide American diplomacy to Iran and other issues in the Middle east.
1. People’s Republic of China
Geographically China was home to one of the four ancient river valley civilizations of prehistoric era. Until 1912 China was under the rule of Dynastic Kings. In 1912 Republic of China was established however it was not until the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 that the Mao Zedong led communist party came to power and established People’s republic of China. Mao introduced significant economic and land reforms in China which triggered its economic growth. The same period also witnessed many emergencies committed in the name of greater good. Cultural Revolution destroyed many ancient sites in name of communist ideals and the Tibetan population heavily affected by the same remains a refugee in various parts of the world, primarily India. After Mao’s death China changed its policies to Mixed economy and since then has given several concessions as far as personal liberties are concerned still there are continued protests of dissatisfaction within and outside China.