“Slovenia is just another country following the same pattern; however, corruption is widespread in our country like elsewhere. The Slovene government is not combating it because [it is] actually part of the problem.”
Former Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader is on trial in the biggest corruption case the Balkan nation has ever seen. His Croatian Democratic Union lost power last year because of the political scandal.
In Slovakia, politicians are accused of taking bribes in exchange for lucrative privatization contracts in 2005 and 2006 in what is known as the Gorilla scandal. It sparked widespread protests earlier this year.
Romanians expressed their frustration in January after Prime Minister Emil Boc dismissed Raed Arafat, a deputy health minister and highly respected reformer. A torrent of anger over corruption and austerity measures swept Mr. Boc’s government from power the next month.
The current ruling Social Democratic government is also tainted with graft. After only a week in power, the education minister resigned after he was accused of plagiarism. Also former party leader Adrian Nastase, was sentenced to two years in prison after conviction for misuse of public funds in January.
Hungarians have been protesting a new constitution that has been heavily criticized for centralizing power and undermining democratic institutions. Some EU leaders have also denounced Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government over the constitution.
Some analysts have noted the irony that many of those now accused of abusing power were once deeply involved in the fight against authoritarian rule.
Mr. Orban was a firebrand young activist famous for a 1989 speech calling for democracy and the withdrawal of Soviet troops.
• Blaz Zgaga contributed to this report from Ljubljana and Jan Richter from Prague. Ruby Russell reported from Berlin.
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