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BISHKEK (TCA) — Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to experience "limited separation of powers, abuse of state resources for electoral purposes, opaque political party financing, and conflicts of interest," anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International says in its latest annual report.

The 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) report, published on January 23, ranks 180 nations based on aggregated survey and assessment data from 13 different global institutions, RFE/RL reported.

Denmark and New Zealand retained their place at the top of the index.

The report says that the Eastern Europe and Central Asia remains the second-lowest performing region on the CPI, with an average score of 35 on its 0-100 scale. The lower the number, the more corrupt a country is perceived to be.

The grouping for Eastern Europe and Central Asia includes Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Only three countries in the region score above the global average of 43 — Georgia (56), Belarus (45), and Montenegro (45), while Turkmenistan (19), Uzbekistan (25), and Tajikistan (25) rank at the bottom of the region.

The report says that since 2012, Belarus (45), Kyrgyzstan (30), and Uzbekistan (25) have shown significant improvement on the CPI.

However, the three former Soviet states "continue to experience state capture and a failure to preserve checks and balances," the report says.

Kazakhstan scored 34 — the best in Central Asia — on the CPI in 2019.

With the same score as the previous year, 28, Russia ranked 137th in the world, one notch higher than in 2018.

"Strong political influence over oversight institutions, insufficient judicial independence and limited press freedoms serve to create an over-concentration of power in many countries across the region," the report concluded.

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