What Does a Democratic Socialist Country List Look Like?

Democratic socialism mixes the belief in democratic control of countries with the concept that wealth should be shared and jointly controlled. Although democratic socialism and socialist democracy are sometimes misunderstood, they are not the same thing.

Nordic countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are socialist democracies. Bolivia and Ecuador are examples of democratic socialist governments in South America. Venezuela was another democratic socialist country until its recent political turmoil.

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What Is Democratic Socialism and How Does It Work?

According to the New York Times, democratic socialism is a political philosophy that lies between between communism and social democracy. The economy in a communist country is entirely centralised. Typically, centralization occurs after a revolution. North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam are examples of communist countries.

Capitalism is tolerated under a social democracy. However, initiatives to disperse resources and manage the economy and enterprises are in place. Democratic socialism, on the other hand, aims to abolish the capitalist component of the economy and centralise it. Unlike communism, it seeks to attain its goals by democratic procedures rather than revolution.


Since 2015, when Antonio Costa was elected Prime Minister, the Socialist party has been in power in Portugal. Costa’s victory pushed the Social Democrats out of power, which had previously led the country.

After an economic crisis that began in 2010, democratic socialism rose to prominence in Portugal. The crisis was followed by nationwide strikes and a bailout from the European Union. Costa was re-elected Prime Minister in 2019.


Bolivia was governed by democratic socialist ideas until the end of 2019, when Evo Morales stepped down as president. Under Morales’ leadership, the country gave Indigenous communities more power. Morales was elected president for the first time in 2006. After attempting to extend term limits, he departed office in 2019.

Bolivia’s poverty rate was also decreased in half under Morales’ presidency. According to NPR, it has decreased from 36 percent of the population to around 17 percent.


Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, was also the founder of the PAIS Alliance, a center-left political party. The party was democratic socialist under Correa’s leadership.

In 2017, however, Lenn Garcés became the party’s head as well as Ecuador’s president. The party has shifted to the right under Garcés’ leadership. Rather from being a democratic socialist party, it has evolved into a socialist democratic party.


Venezuela was often held up as a shining example of a democratic socialist country before the death of its former president, Hugo Chávez, in 2013. However, the country has been on the decline since Chávez’s death.

In 2013, Nicolás Maduro was elected President of Venezuela. The country’s economy began to crumble at that point, and hyperinflation took hold. According to the BBC, the country’s annual inflation rate in November 2018 reached 1,300,000 percent. Around four million individuals have left Venezuela in quest of a better life since the country’s economic crisis began.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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