World

Populist leaders may worsen corruption: NGO

BERLIN: Populist politicians may undermine the fight against corruption, an anti-graft watchdog said yesterday, warning that it feared a backslide in the US under President Donald Trump.

"Populism is the wrong medicine," Transparency International said after releasing its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks nations on perceived public sector corruption.

Its chairman Jose Ugaz said that in countries with 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".

Its research director Finn Heinrich said Mr Trump's business conflicts did not bode well. "When you see Trump has put his son-in-law as a senior advisor, that smells off," he said. "His whole cabinet is full of conflicts of interest. He said he would drain the swamp. The first signs show that he would rather water it." - AFP

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