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This paper investigates the relationship between the overall perception of the level of corruption and that of the quality of the ruling regime. Two subsets of political regimes are analysed — the neo-democracies from Latin America (LA) and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The principal thesis advanced here is that corruption affects negatively the quality of neo-democracy. However, the current research tries also to discover the specific mechanism by which this is achieved in practice. It is hypothesised that legitimacy, or, even, the particular way of legitimising the fledgling democracies, is the key. Legitimisation is mainly about the support granted to a specific policy and the regime as a whole. It has been demonstrated that the entire process has an input and output side. It is presumed that, during transition to democracy and its eventual consolidation, on the input side, both the opportunity structures (political institutions, legal tools and different kinds of both formal and informal practices) for citizens’ participation and control of the ruling elites are created, while, on the output side, legitimacy is achieved by producing concrete results regarding, for instance, the fight against corruption as well as the provision of a whole range of public goods, which enshrine the common aspirations of the majority of the population about democracy and human rights.

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