World Facts

The 25 Best Governments In The World

Switzerland and New Zealand have the best governments globally, followed closely by European countries and by Canada.

Of all the topics available for discussion in both social and informal gatherings, government and politics is probably among the most controversial of them all. While it is challenging to compare one country's governance to that of another, especially since each style’s success is largely dependent on the people actually running it, many experts believe that there is a way to compare all of them in such a way that a comprehensive, and reliable, ranking can be produced. One such ranking is published by the Legatum Institute, based in the United Kingdom. It has declared Switzerland as being the nation having the best government in the world.

Europe Leads the Way

European countries top the list of Best Governments in the World, the majority of whom are governed by an EU- and UN-affiliated leadership. The top ten countries with the best government according to the Legatum Index Government Ranking are Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Canada, Norway, United Kingdom and Australia. The United States ranks 11th which incidentally is the same ranking that it has for the same institute’s most prosperous countries list.

In the democratic Swiss State, the people have the foremost political power, giving them increased opportunities to express their opinion by way of popular voting. All its people have the right to vote, including both men and women, and they have the freedom to choose the people who will represent them within their Federal Assembly. The Kingdom of Denmark, on the other hand, is a constitutional monarchy. Therein, their monarch, currently Queen Margrethe II, is the Head of State. The Prime Minister, meanwhile, presides over the government's Cabinet, where the most important executive powers are carried out.

In the country of Sweden, the National Cabinet is the supreme executive authority. They too have a Prime Minister, who is typically assigned by cabinet ministers, and someone called the Speaker of the Riksdag heading the Swedish unicameral national legislature. Legislative power lies with the Parliament in Finland, whereas Luxembourg has their own brand of Parliamentary Democracy. Meanwhile, Norway has its Monarchy, the UK its Constitutional Monarchy, and finally Australia its Commonwealth government akin to those of New Zealand and Canada's Federal forms of governance under the British crown.

Among the factors that have allowed Switzerland to top the rankings for best governments in the world are their excellent health care system, top notch educational programs, low levels of air and water pollution, freedom of speech, the right to responsibly defend oneself, a priority given to innovation, and a stable economic environment. These factors are also those being commonly shared by the other countries topping the best government ranking, such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The Importance of Good Governance to Nations as a Whole

Good governance remains among the benchmarks against which all nations, rich and poor, are often ranked. It is interesting to note that the countries ranked as having the best governments in the world also received similar or closely similar rankings for other lists such as Most Prosperous Countries of the World, the World’s Happiest People, the Most Globally Competitive Countries, the World’s Most Satisfied People, and so on. The fact of the matter remains that it would appear that no matter how powerful or progressive or wealthy a nation may be, good governance will play an important role when considering how successful a nation is across all aspects of life therein. As a point in fact, though the United States currently claims to have one of the world’s largest economies, it only ranks 11th in both the Best Governance list and the Best Countries to Live In list. Another market giant, China, has even more disparity. Despite having the 3rd best Economy ranking, it is ranked as 52nd all around, and 67th in Governance. Indeed, "Prosperity" itself extends far beyond dollars and cents and economic leverage, with happiness and good leadership being just as, if not even more, important.

The Ranking Of The Best Governments In The World

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CountryLegatum Index Government Ranking
Switzerland1
New Zealand2
Denmark3
Sweden4
Finland5
Luxembourg6
Canada7
Norway8
United Kingdom9
Australia10
United States11
Netherlands12
Singapore13
Ireland14
Austria15
Germany16
Belgium17
Iceland18
Japan19
France20
Malta21
Hong Kong22
Estonia23
Chile24
Cyprus25

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