debt crisis rattles eurozone political landscape
Last Updated : GMT 14:18:14
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Debt crisis rattles eurozone political landscape

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Debt crisis rattles eurozone political landscape

Brussels - Xinhua

Since it first came out to light two years ago, the eurozone sovereign debt crisis has not only sent shockwaves across Europe\'s financial sector and threatened to sink the EU\'s most prized project - the euro - but also triggered a monstrous tsunami in the region\'s political landscape. In the latest episode of the euro drama, Spain\'s ruling party PSOE saw their popularity sank to punishing lows in the general elections held on Sunday, garnering only 28.6 percent of the votes after nearly 98 percent of the votes were counted. The winning Popular Party polled 44.5 percent of the votes. Within less than two years, Europe saw the a string of its governments fell like bowling pins - and all but the five so-called \"PIIGS\" countries, which were considered weaker economically following the financial crisis, were on the victims\' list. Ireland\'s Brian Cowen was the first to fall prey to the crisis, after he failed to negotiate a better repayment terms on an international rescue package for Dublin. Then came Portugal\'s Socrates, who resigned in March over Parliament\'s rejection of his fourth austerity package within a year, followed by Spain\'s Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who called in July early general elections four months ahead of schedule, after he was blamed for not reacting fast enough when the crisis hit. But the high drama came only in the past few weeks, as Greek former Prime Minister George Papandreou first announced then ditched a plan for a referendum on a eurozone bailout package. The development eventually forced him to resign ten days later to pave way for a unity government, followed by the resignation of his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi within 48 hours. The crisis even claimed a number of collateral damages, including out-going Slovak Prime Minister Iveta Radicova who turned a vote to boost the eurozone financial safety net European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in October into a confidence motion and failed to secure it.Although the debt crisis was not the sole factor that contributed to the collapse of governments, it surely played its own part. Prior to the crisis, the five \"PIIGS\" governments and their ruling parties had enjoyed at least some popularity at home. Before Cowen\'s fall, his Fianna Fail party has dominated Ireland\'s political life for 80 years, while Socrates, referred to many as the \"George Clooney of Portuguese politics,\" was applauded for his charm and style, as well as his reconciliatory approach as a negotiator. Papandreou, following the footsteps of his grandfather and father who were both prime ministers, had won a landslide victory in Greece\'s 2009 elections, whereas Zapatero had managed to be elected Spanish prime minister twice. Even Berlusconi, dogged by a variety of accusations ranging from briery to paying an underage girl for sex, had managed to stand as Italy\'s longest-serving prime minister and the dominant figure in Italian politics for almost two decades. But that was only before the towering debt chipped away their grasp onto power, and the crisis is still far from over.

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