Spaniards see corruption as worst blot on country’s image

Madrid, Feb 23 (IANS/EFE) Fifty-two percent of Spaniards see political corruption as the worst blot on Spain’s image abroad, a survey released Friday shows.

That information comes from the latest poll taken by the Elcano Royal Institute, an independent think-tank, while 19.1 percent of respondents identified high unemployment and poverty as the most negative aspect of their nation’s international image.

The 1,000 Spanish citizens surveyed during the first two weeks of February said Spain was the most corrupt country on a list that included countries like Morocco and China.

Elcano researcher Javier Noya told a press conference that according to the majority of international studies, Spain is not as corrupt a country as either Morocco or China and yet Spaniards believe it is, which shows the “high degree of resentment” that exists about corruption.

The poll also shows that the great majority of citizens, 88.4 percent, believe that Spain’s image abroad has not improved over the past month, though 59 percent have a positive view of the government’s Brand Spain initiative.

At the same time, the survey shows that 47.9 percent of Spaniards under 45 have thought seriously about emigrating to improve their standard of living, a percentage that rises to 67 among people under 30.

The new Spanish urge to emigrate also has its demographic differences, because the propensity to leave increases very significantly with the educational level, with 65 percent of university students inclined to leave the country, compared with 35 percent of those with no education beyond high school.

Spain has an overall unemployment rate of more than 26 percent, rising to 55 percent among workers under 25.

Political corruption scandals are making that situation worse, particularly following media reports that the ex-treasurer of the ruling Popular Party, Luis Barcenas, made undeclared cash payments to party chiefs for years.

–IANS/EFE

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IANS