International IDEA implemented the State of Democracy assessment in El Salvador as a pilot study in 2002. The aim of this study was to evaluate the level of democracy in a country where the legacy of state violence, repression and corruption has proved hard to cast aside. Despite the establishment of a democratic system, the country had fallen behind on its democratic path by the time of the study, and important measures to solve the widespread poverty problem were still lacking. Nearly half of the country’s population lived below the poverty line in 1998. In order to highlight what measures people considered key to improving the situation, the El Salvador research team decided to implement a State of Democracy assessment.
The results of the El Salvador study were included in the State of Democracy report, which combines assessments from eight different countries. This report demonstrates the high adaptability of the State of Democracy frameworks and their relevance for several different country contexts.