In recent years there has been a consensus among voters, especially in western democracies, that government no longer serves as a framework to help others. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll that surveyed American's trust in their political leaders, the results were disturbingly low, with only 42% of Americans admitting their confidence in Washington. And when you analyze the ongoing scandals and controversies, it isn't hard to see why.
Indeed, is it really that shocking to know that political scandals still exist? After all, they have been ubiquitous throughout political history and have served as potent reminders that too much power and control can often be a recipe for disaster.
With that said, OMG Lane has profiled ten political scandals that made many lose their faith in government.
10. Berlusconi's Bunga Bunga Parties
At the time of writing, it's hard to believe that politics extends beyond the shores of Donald Trump's White House, but many global leaders would sympathize with the plights of America's much-maligned leader. One man, who can certainly relate to the troubles of Donald Trump more than anyone is the long-time lothario and Italian billionaire, Silvio Berlusconi. Paralleling the leaked tapes that exposed Trump's sexist remarks levied against certain women, Berlusconi's 17 years in office were, while similar to Trump's recent controversies, far worse.
As well as been marred by corruption charges, the duplicitous politician was also a lover of prostitutes, and would invite many of them back to parties that later became known as 'Bunga Bunga Parties.' What made these activities worse was the age of the prostitutes, with many allegedly being under the age of 18 (the legal age of consent for paid sex in Italy is 18). Various trials in his homeland have since been conducted, but none of the charges brought against Berlusconi resulted in any convictions.
9. The 2000 Flordia Recount
The 2000 presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore may not have had the glamour and box-office appeal of the latest race, but it was nonetheless laden in controversy. The main grievance many had was the voting procedure that took place in the state of Florida, a key state in any hopefull's bid for the Oval Office.
With the world watching, the state made a complete mess of the count so had to undergo the customary recount of all its ballots until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in and chose Bush by the slender margin of 537 votes. The appeal made by Bush's team put an end to the proposed recount demanded by Florida's Supreme Court and gave him enough votes in the Electoral College to win.
The event, which the liberal documentary filmmaker Michael Moore described as a 'stolen election,' was made more controversial due to the Governor of Flordia being Jeb Bush, the cousin of Geroge.W. Bush.
8. Bill Clinton's infidelity with White House intern Monica Lewinsky
In the 2016 American election, Bill Clinton was the topic of much debate following Donald Trump's candid remarks about the women who accused him of sexual assault over the years. None of these allegations put forth by Trump has ever been proved, but one such indiscretion of his that was was his infidelity with the 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky when he was still president.
While legal, Bill's shortsightedness almost cost him his job when he faced and overcame two charges of impeachment, the other being a lawsuit filed by Paila Jones who accused the former president of sexual harassment.
7. The Invasion of Iraq
George W. Bush's presidency may have been synonymous for its ineptness, but it was his handling of the events in the aftermath of 9/11 that contributed to him leaving office with one of the lowest approval ratings in presidential history. Citing 'weapons of mass destruction' as a legitimate excuse for invading Saddam Hussien's Iraq, a country he believed was used as a prime training ground for terrorists, the American enlisted the help of another world leader whose approval ratings, by the end of his reign, weren't too dissimilar.
In what became known as more than just a 'special relationship', Geroge W. Bush and the British prime minister Tony Blair sent many troops to the Middle-Eastern country, despite mass demonstrations in both America and Britain. And it seemed the protestors had a point. After all, it was determined that there were no 'weapons of mass destruction' leading many campaigners to wonder why two of the world's most influential leaders were not held accountable for the lives lost from the invasion.
6. The Rape Allegations That Led To Moshe Katsav's Downfall
The former President of Israel made headlines around the world when convicted of two counts of rape in December 2011. Katsav, who had served as president for seven years between the years 2000-2007, was accused of sexually abusing ten women towards the latter end of his presidency and eventually resigned after continued calls from fellow politicians to do so.
However, as is the case in Israel, presidential immunity grants you many powers, including not being subject to certain criminal prosecutions yet Katsav's hold on office was slipping away with each day that passed and the moment he resigned he was arrested.
Katsav ended up serving five years of a seven-year sentence and was released in December 2016.
5. The State Duma Comes Under The Cosh
Serving as the lower house of Russian parliament, The Stae Duma has long been criticised for its apparent disregard for any sought of democratic practices to take place, a long-held assumption that was confirmed in May 2010.
At first glance, the passing of new law regarding drunk driving seemed to suggest common sense had prevailed and that the Duma had finally passed something useful, and with an overwhelming majority of 440 out of 450 possible votes, it appeared to indicate a landslide. Yet there was one problem.
The problem was that only 88 deputies had shown up for work. That incident in itself could make for inclusion on this list, but what made matters worse was the video that soon circulated which appeared to show many of the 88 deputies pushing the voting buttons of those absent. In a report which followed, it was claimed that in the twenty-second period in which the ballots were cast, it was possible the deputies could have pushed as many as nine different buttons.
4. John Major's Links To Saddam Hussein
Margaret Thatcher's successor wasn't very popular. Not only did many feel he was a 'wet', a term coined by Thatcher to describe those of a less ruthless disposition, but he was also someone who many deemed responsible for the party's landslide defeat in 1996 at the hands of Tony Blair's Labour Party. To this day, many blame the loss to the links the party held with Matrix Churchill, a weaponry company purchased by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.
In 1996, reports would reveal the company's controversial practices, which involved government ministers advising them on selling artillery to Iraq. Astonishingly, members of the British Ministry of Defense had even informed them on how to get the export licenses needed to further their dealings although Major's involvement was, as far as the 1996 investigation concluded, unproven, but the revelations were nonetheless embarrassing and proved a leading catalyst in his 1997 defeat.
3. Francois Mitterrand's Love Child
Francois Mitterrand was president of France from 1981 to 1995 and was seemingly in a happy marriage to his wife, Danielle. But Mitterrand's extra-circular activities included a string of extramarital affairs. The case that hit the headlines, however, was his liaisons with Anne Pingeot, whom he got an apartment for. He also ordered his presidential security team to look after her, which all came at the taxpayer's expense.
The affair would spawn a baby girl named Mazarine, a story which somehow evaded the prying eyes of the press. But things would all change in 1994 when Mazarine Pingeot turned 20. No longer protected as a minor, the identity of her father became public knowledge, and a tide of reporters descended on her home, demanding answers.
2. Gordon Brown's Microphone Blunder
The moment Gordon Brown became Prime Minister; things were never going to be easy. For a start, Brown was only a year into the job when the 2008 global recession occurred, while reckless overspending and an inability to appease those demanding cuts made for a position that, by April the 28th, 2010, had become increasingly precarious. This position, while not perfect, was then broken beyond repair after a televised conversation with a pensioner named Gillian Duffy turned sour.
Duffy was a 65-year-old retiree and lifelong Labour voter who was annoyed by Brown's answers when she quizzed him about immigration. Still, the two departed on amicable terms. Yet as soon as Brown got in his car he branded her a 'bigoted woman' after forgetting to turn his microphone off.
Inevitably, the clip went viral, and Brown was embarrassingly forced to apologize to Duffy on live radio and even went to her home to offer his remorse. Duffy refused to shake his hand, however, and on the day of the election, the Labour Party lost 91 seats- their biggest defeat since 1931.
Known widely as politics' most shocking scandal, Watergate all started following a 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate complex of Washington D.C.
The assailants were five aides, all of whom had close ties to the Republican president, Richard Nixon. What it was they had intended to achieve when breaking in, however, are reasons that are still unknown.
Initially, the Nixon administration denied all wrongdoing and distanced themselves from the burglars. But despite a landslide re-election, Nixon came under growing pressure from his party to resign and eventually stepped down from the job. In the words of one of his lawyers, the scandal proved that "the president had lied to the nation, to his closest aides, and to his own lawyers- for more than two years."