Since last year Latvia has seen a “significant improvement” in perceived levels of corruption, according to the latest Corruption Perception Index by the Berlin-based Transparency International.
Latvia ranked 49th on the list released Nov. 6, tied with Slovakia and a jump of two spots from last year, when the nation ranked 51st.
The Corruption Perception Index is based on polls of business people, academics and country analysts. A total of 163 countries are included in the 2006 index, which measures opinion about the level of corruption and is based on a 10-point scale. The higher the score, the less a nation’s economic and political system is perceived as corrupt.
It is on that scale that Latvia has seen the “significant improvement,” leaping to 4.7 from last year’s 4.2. The increase was the greatest since the country’s first appearance in the index, the anti-corruption group Delna said in Rīga.
Nonetheless, scores below 5.0 suggest that the level of corruption in a country is serious, according to Transparency International.
Latvia continues to gain on its southern Baltic neighbor. Lithuania maintained a score of 4.8, but slipped to 48th place from last year’s 44th. It was tied with the Czech Republic and Kuwait.
Estonia, meanwhile, rose three places to 24th overall, but its score of 6.7 remain unchanged from last year. It was tied with Barbados.
Finland, Iceland and New Zealand shared the No. 1 spot in the index. At the bottom of the list was Haiti. The United States ranked 20th and was tied with Belgium and Chile. Russia ranked 121st, tied with Benin, Gambia, Guyana, Honduras, Nepal, Phillipines, Rwanda and Swaziland.
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