The Czech Republic is not yet in the same situation as Italy in 1992-1993 when the established political parties were pilloried and many never recovered from the public discredit they suffered at the time. But such a political disaster could be in store for the Czech Republic.

The increasing number of cases of cronyism proves that corruption, misuse of funds and conflicts of interest are not haphazard but, on the contrary, are incredibly wide-spread and deep-rooted in the country.

Due to the effects of the financial crisis, people's level of tolerance towards corruption as well as the reluctance or inability of political leaders and civil servants to effectively deal with the problem is shrinking. Corruption and the pillaging of public resources are not only immoral, but also constitute a genuine political and economic problem.

What's more they are factors contributing significantly to the "debt crisis" by undermining the competiveness of economies and threatening their prosperity.

In this context, it is more than probable that by putting the issue of the responsibility of the political elites for their direct participation in corruption – through illegal party financing, for example, as well as for their stance regarding the corruption they tolerate, encourage or protect – it will lead to an open, Italian-style political crisis.

Most scandalous

Naturally, the first question one asks is, what was the most scandalous part of the moral and political crisis that swept across Italy and in particular during its most acute explosive phase in 1992-93? What was the most revealing, politically speaking? To answer "the revelations on the widespread nature of corrupt practices", which was the principal result of the anti-corruption crusade now dubbed the "Clean Hands Operation" or "The Judges' Revolution", is not enough.

It was not a question of just any sort of corruption. It was politically protected corruption and it was blessed by the "pillars of democracy" – but we could also use the expression "pillars of a democratic oligarchy" – that is to say by the principal political parties.

The revelations came from magistrates and prosecutors, supported in their anti-corruption campaign by an informal alliance of grassroots citizen's groups and investigative journalists.

The justice department played a key role. Only it had the means to put corrupt politicians and business executives up against the wall. To make such revelations public and to expose their scandalous nature.

Powerful friends

The establishment political parties that controlled legislative and executive powers were unable to take on any credible reform from the inside. The renewal of public life came in the form of a "Judges' Revolution" which, at least in the beginning, was greeted with enthusiasm by the mass media and the people.

It has been proven that an anti-corruption crusade similar to the "Clean Hands" initiative, relying solely on its own resources and without reliable allies in sufficiently solid positions within the legislative and executive power structures, cannot eliminate political patronage in corruption. The subject is, in the final analysis, highly political. It requires solutions that are political first and not judicial. In other words, the solutions are to be found in political combat.

The "Judges' Revolution" was unable to bring such solutions. Only a "Revolution of the Politicians" has the power to do so, but that requires leaders able to see the long-term, anxious to court the public interest and not aiming to join, as quickly as possible, an unofficial coalition of the privileged.