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Mexicans say corruption is falling, even as a third still paid bribes

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MEXICOCITY (Reuters) – Mexicans say corruption is falling even as a third of them also report paying a bribe, a survey by Transparency International said on Monday, as the 10-month-old administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sets its sights on stamping out graft.

The Global Corruption Barometer 2019 report shows that 44% of Mexicans say corruption has increased over the last year, compared with 61% of Mexicans in 2017.

Veteran leftist Lopez Obrador took office in December promising to root out the entrenched corruption, poverty and violence afflicting Latin America’s second-largest economy.

A majority of Mexicans, 61% of those polled, said Lopez Obrador was doing a “good” or “very good” job of fighting corruption. Only 24% said the same thing about his predecessor, former president Enrique Pena Nieto, in the 2017 report.

In line with that, one of every five respondents said corruption in Mexico decreased over the last year, versus only 6% of those surveyed in the 2017 poll.

Still, nine of 10 Mexicans surveyed by the anti-graft group “underscored that corruption remains a problem for the country, although they perceive changes compared to previous years,” the report showed.

Some 34% of those polled said they had paid a bribe over the past 12 months to access public services, down from 51% in 2017.

Pollster Ipsos conducted 1,000 face-to-face interviews in Mexico between Feb. 26 and March 9 for the Transparency International report.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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