Greens rated least corrupt in poll

Austrians are putting the most trust in the Greens when it comes to how badly political parties are infiltrated by corrupting networks.Public opinion company Karmasin found that 31 per cent of Austrians think that the Green Party was the least corrupt political force in the country. The agency said the Social Democrats (SPÖ) came second in this regard – although just seven per cent of polled citizens said the same about the party in government.The Freedom Party (FPÖ) did worse as just three per cent of Austrians think the right-wing party is the least corrupt political force in Austria. The People’s Party (ÖVP) of Michael Spindelegger gained a meagre approval of two per cent in this regard, as little as the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ).Karmasin stressed that 39 per cent of people it spoke with said they were certain that all political parties were “equally corrupt.” The research group’s study was published by political magazine profil.Especially the ÖVP’s reputation suffered immensely in the past weeks after Ernst Strasser was forced to resign as head of its team of members of the European Parliament (EP). The former interior minister was secretly filmed by Sunday Times journalists as he offered lobbyism services in return for money.Josef Pröll expressed disappointment about the attitude of some politicians without mentioning Strasser’s name when he announced his resignation from all political functions some days ago. Pröll was vice chancellor, finance minister and federal ÖVP chief.Many ÖVP officials expressed disappointment but also surprise regarding the revelations about Strasser’s activities. The ex-MEP faces investigations for corruption and abuse of office.SPÖ MP and juridical issues spokesman Hannes Jarolim has meanwhile also come under fire. The Social Democrat is accused of having lobbied for a client of his law firm in parliament. Jarolim denies the allegations.Meanwhile, Greens deputy head Werner Kogler appealed to the SPÖ-ÖVP administration to speed up considering its pledge to introduce more stringent anti-lobbyism rules for MPs. Kogler said the coalition must not use the currently ongoing reformation of its team of ministers as an excuse for delaying the announced reform of the legal framework.His appeal comes on the back of Claudia Bandion-Ortner’s promise to get a strict anti-lobbying law underway. Bandion-Ortner became justice minister on an ÖVP ticket. She was officially replaced by former Science Minister Beatrix Karl today.The planned decree would enforce MPs to list all of their incomes. It will also officially make lobbying of any sort in the federal parliament a breach of law.It has to be seen whether the Greens can benefit from the current occurrences. The next general elections are due in 2013. The party headed by Eva Glawischnig garnered 10.4 per cent in the most recent federal ballot in 2008, down by 0.6 per cent compared to its performance in the 2006 election.