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Právo: Nečas gov’t reforms responsible for lower corruption

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Prague, Jan 27 (CTK) – Anti-corruption reforms launched under the rule of the right-wing government of Petr Necas in 2012-2013 led to the improvement of the position of the Czech Republic in the latest report on corruption that Transparency International (TI) released yesterday, daily Pravo writes.
The Czech Republic is in the 37th position in the world corruption perception index (CPI), while it was 53rd in 2015.
TI Czech programme director Radim Bures said such a marked improvement is a surprise.
He said it is too early to give any credit for the success to the present government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD).
The CPI is based on the analysis of data from 2014-2015 that were mainly influenced by the reforms launched by prime minister Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) and vice prime minister for fighting corruption Karolina Peake (Liberal Democrats, LIDEM), Bures told Pravo.
He said the crucial factor seemed to be the systemic and personnel changes at state attorney’s office and the arrival of new top attorneys in 2011-2012, Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman and the country’s two high state attorneys, Lenka Bradacova and Ivo Istvan.
Unlike before, big criminal cases were opened, such as those of suspected manipulations of public tenders in Central Bohemia by a group around the region’s governor David Rath, and in the Prague-Na Homolce hospital by a group around the hospital director Vladimir Dbaly, and controversial business activities related to lobbyist Ivo Rittig, Bures said.
He said corruption does not always concern classical bribing but complicated clientelist links, with many people seeking to push through their business interests or their people to key posts.
Rittig negotiated with prime minister Necas’s office head Jana Nagyova about some posts in the civil service and media recently reported that Rittig wanted to get his man to the sensitive post of the chief of the police unit for wiretapping, Bures said.
He said Sobotka’s government has maintained the positive trend. The government presented an ambitious anti-corruption programme, but its implementation seems rather slow, he said.
Bures said the passing of the law on civil service and the law on the release of all public contracts on the Internet were good steps.
The problem with corruption was most serious in Czech society in 2002 when the privatisation of state companies culminated, Bures said. The worsening of the Czech CPI seems to be caused by the processes related to it, he added.
The second negative peak was in 2011 when the effects of the financial crisis culminated. Bures said he believes that the rule of prime minister Mirek Topolanek (2006-2009) whose government included controversial ministers Ales Rebicek and Ivan Langer (all ODS) contributed to the bad result.

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