Democratic standards across the world fell in 2023 amid the spread of wars, authoritarian crackdowns and declining levels of trust in mainstream political parties, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said on Thursday.

While the number of countries categorized as democracies increased by two last year, the global average index score fell to 5.23 in 2023 from 5.29 the year before, its lowest level since the first study was published in 2006.

"The world has entered an age of conflict, and the contours of a future major war are already visible," said the study titled "Age of Conflict."