PARIS (Reuters) – As governments around the euro zone are felled by a widening sovereign debt crisis, a perceived loss of sovereignty to the IMF and the European Union is raising prickly questions of democratic legitimacy.
Since the crisis began in late 2009, Ireland and Portugal have voted out governments that requested humiliating international bailouts after their borrowing costs spiralled out of control.
Now the Greek and Italian governments are both about to fall due to the strains of having to impose austerity measures and unpopular economic reforms to avert a debt meltdown.
And Spain’s Socialist government, which implemented tax rises, pay and pension cuts and labour market reforms to try to escape a similar fate, is set to be trounced this month in an early general election, all polls suggest.
Many of these changes are the result of natural wear-and-tear on long-serving governments in times of severe economic stress, or of voters punishing perceived mismanagement.