MPs leave the Palriament after the vote of confidence in Beirut, Feb. 15, 2019. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)
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A much-trumpeted and long-awaited drive against rampant corruption in the public administration appears to be gathering steam, hardly a month after the formation of a new government that has promised to implement bold reforms to salvage the country's economy.Top leaders have underlined an urgent need to stamp out corruption in public administrations and ministries and halt the squandering of state funds -- essential measures to avert a much-feared collapse of the economy, reeling under $85 billion in national debt, an endemic budget deficit and slow growth.The anti-graft drive seen as crucial for halting the waste of public funds and reducing the budget deficit appears doomed to fail due to the absence of an independent judiciary and effective oversight bodies, political analysts said.A similar view was put forward by Imad Salamey, a professor of political science at the Lebanese American University, who emphasized that an independent judiciary and oversight agencies were pivotal to confronting corruption.Simon Haddad, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut, also sounded pessimistic about the chances of the anti-corruption battle yielding concrete results in the absence of an independent judiciary.He compared the growing political and popular demands to fight corruption to long-standing calls to abolish "political confessionalism" from the ruling system.Both Salamey and Nader agreed.
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