There is a striking trend in global politics: A growing number of presidents and prime ministers are being toppled before the end of their term by public anger and legal action relating to corruption. In just the last six months, corruption dominoes have fallen in countries as diverse as Armenia, Malaysia, Peru, Slovakia, South Africa, and Spain. Stepping back a bit, a startling fact deserves attention: In the past five years, more than 10 percent of countries in the world have experienced corruption-driven leadership change.
In these 21 countries, embattled leaders have either resigned, been ousted by a no-confidence vote, or been impeached or removed from office. Their alleged wrongdoings range from the relatively mild—an Icelandic prime minister seemingly trying to conceal the existence of overseas assets—to extensive influence-peddling and abuse of power for private gain. Most cases are unrelated to each other, but the 2016 release of