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Austria ranks as the world’s 12th-least corrupt country in Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index. Still, Die Presse wonders whether Austria is not something of a banana republic and is calling on the political establishment to do some serious self-vetting now that the anti-corruption NGO has denounced the very close ties between Austrian political and banking circles. As a matter of fact, Austrian watchdogs like the Financial Market Authority (FMA) are appointed by the country’s elected officials. “This attack could not have come at a better time. Only last Tuesday the council of ministers decided to keep the head of the FMA on for another term,” comments the Viennese daily, adding that “Transparency International’s assessments will not come as a big surprise to many Austrians. For decades the country has been so divided between the red and black banking blocs” – the reference here being to the colours of the two main political parties – “that you can’t even hope to get a job cleaning toilets if you aren’t a card-carrying member of the right party. All the same, it is more than embarrassing that the international sleaze watchdogs should have noticed too.”