Too little, too late

How often have politicians, political parties and the media stressed the need to purge corruption from public administration? How often have they emphasized the need to audit politicians’ income sources? And how many times has the administration furiously refused to acknowledge that all these are major issues with a deleterious effect on public life and put the brakes on efforts for modernization and development? According to the prime minister, things were nice and smooth, the transparency monitoring system was in place and people could turn up at the prosecutor’s office to report cases of corruption or any other type of unwarranted economic transactions. Time passed, the problem grew bigger, politicians’ honesty was seen as doubtful, people began to feel more and more that business interests influence and, in some cases manipulate, state decisions, and that the image of the reformist group inside the government has been seriously damaged. Faced with the specter of a landslide defeat, the prime minister has finally decided to tackle the issue of corruption. The premier was thus forced to put aside his previous arguments on these issues and to acknowledge the views of the opposition – and of some inside his government – on the need to make political decisions aiming at eliminating corruption from the body politic. Spasmodically, in what is effectively a pre-election climate, and mainly for public relations reasons, the government is taking action to disprove critics who said it was turning a blind eye to the problem. Its response is inevitably frivolous and confused. But the premier’s efforts have little hope of bearing fruit. With an eye fixed on the coming polls, such efforts are doomed to fail.

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