Financial crisis hits trust in political parties: report
BERLIN (Reuters) - The public's faith in political parties has been sharply eroded during the financial crisis, with four out of five people saying they are corrupt or very corrupt, a survey showed Thursday.
The 2010 Global Corruption Barometer by Berlin-based watchdog Transparency International (TI) showed that 79 percent of respondents in a global study believed parties were "corrupt or extremely corrupt," up from 69 percent in 2009.
TI said the sample of countries used was slightly larger in 2010, and that if a comparison was made between 65 nations polled in both years, the increase was more pronounced -- 82 percent saw parties as corrupt in 2010, up from 68 percent last year.
"The fall-out of the financial crises continues to affect people's opinions of corruption, particularly in Europe and North America," TI chairwoman Huguette Labelle said.
"Institutions everywhere must be resolute in their efforts to restore good governance and trust," she added.
The survey showed that six out of 10 people believed corruption had increased over the past three years. One in four people reported paying bribes in the last year, it added.
Pessimism is most widespread in Europe and North America, where 73 percent and 67 percent of people respectively think corruption has increased. Still, the survey found seven out of 10 people said they would be prepared to report corruption.
Although the public's perception of politicians is suffering, confidence in the judiciary has improved, TI said. While 49 percent believed judges were corrupt in 2009, the percentage fell to 43 percent this year, the report showed.
A breakdown of the TI figures showed that trust in political parties had markedly declined over the past few years in countries such as Britain and the United States, the two countries seen to be at the heart of the Anglo-Saxon capitalist model.
On a scale in which 1 indicated "not at all" and 5 "extremely" respondents were asked to what extent they believed political parties to be corrupt.
In the United States, the corruption rating awarded to parties rose to 4.3 in 2010 from 3.6 in 2004. In Britain, the figure rose from 4.0 from 3.4.
Other countries hit hard by the financial crisis also showed notable increases, TI said. In Greece, the figure leapt to 4.6 from 3.8; and to 4.4 from 3.9 in Ireland.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Alison Williams)