The New York Times is reporting that Greece's government was plunged into chaos on Tuesday and faced an imminent collapse, as lawmakers rebelled against Prime Minister George Papandreou’s call for a popular referendum on a new debt deal with the country’s foreign lenders.
Such a collapse would likely scuttle or at least delay the debt deal that was agreed on in Brussels last week, putting Greece on a fast track to default and possible exit from the monetary union of countries sharing the euro currency.
If Papandreou’s government falls, it would not be the first one in Europe to be toppled by the austerity demanded by European debt relief. In Ireland and Portugal, governments that accepted bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund fell, and last month the Slovakian government fell over whether to participate in the European Union’s rescue package.
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