The Economist weekly has ranked South Korea 31st and North Korea 167th or dead last in its global democracy index.
In a special edition titled "The World in 2007," the U.K. magazine looked at the state of democracy in countries around the world using 60 indicators across five broad categories such as free elections, civil liberties, functioning government, political participation, and political culture.
The index classified the nations surveyed (165 independent states and two territories) into four groups: 28 full democracies, 54 flawed democracies, 30 hybrid regimes and 55 authoritarian regimes.
South Korea scored 7.88 out of a possible 10 to land in 31st place and was classified as a flawed democracy. It scored a high 9.58 for free elections but did worse than advanced nations in the rest of the categories: 7.14 in functioning government, 7.22 in political participation, 7.5 in political culture and 7.94 in civil liberties.
North Korea was last with a paltry 1.03. The Economist did not produce a democracy index for each country last year. Sweden came top with 9.88, "followed," the weekly said, "by a bevy of similarly virtuous northern European countries" such as Iceland (9.17), the Netherlands (9.66), Norway (9.55) and Denmark (9.52).
Major powers in the world did worse, with the U.S. in 17th, Japan 20th, the U.K. 23rd and France 24th. The magazine said 40 percent of the global population still lives under authoritarian regimes.