MADRID (AFP) – Concern over corruption increased sharply in Spain last month in the wake of a major anti-graft sweep that saw six mayors arrested, a poll published Thursday showed.
Six in 10 Spaniards, or 63.8 per cent, feel corruption is the country’s main problem, the Centre for Sociological Research poll found, up from 42.7 per cent who thought so in the previous month.
As in previous surveys unemployment topped the monthly ranking of Spaniards’ concerns, with 77 per cent listing it as the nation’s main problem.
The survey of 2,465 people was carried out November 4-12, just days after police arrested 51 people including six mayors in a probe into alleged kickbacks.
Kickbacks were allegedly paid to politicians by the private sector in return for public works contracts worth some 250 million euros ($300 million).
After the arrests Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took the unusual step of apologising to Spaniards for corruption scandals involving members of his conservative Popular Party during a debate in parliament.
The kickback probe is one of a series of graft scandals that have rocked Spain in recent years involving politicians of all political stripes, businesses, football clubs and even the king’s sister.
Spain slightly improved its score on Transparency International’s annual corruption ranking this year, obtaining a score of 60 on a scale of 0-100, where zero means very corrupt and 100 signifies very clean. The country had a score of 59 in 2013.