The rise of populist politicians around the world risks undermining the fight against corruption, an anti-graft watchdog said Wednesday, warning that it feared a backslide in the US under new President Donald Trump.
“Populism is the wrong medicine,” Transparency International said as it released its closely-watched annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks nations according to their perceived level of public sector corruption. Luxembourg ranks a respectable joint tenth in the list together with Germany and the UK.
“In countries with populist or autocratic leaders, we often see democracies in decline and a disturbing pattern of attempts to crack down on civil society, limit press freedom, and weaken the independence of the judiciary,” said TI chair Jose Ugaz.
“Instead of tackling crony capitalism, those leaders usually install even worse forms of corrupt systems,” he said in a statement.
The watchdog said that both Hungary and Turkey, “countries that have seen the rise of autocratic leaders”, have slipped in the corruption rankings in recent years.
Concerns are also mounting about the United States, where Trump assumed power last week following a campaign that railed against the political “elite” and promised to clean up corruption in Washington.