The New York Times – In Spain, after two decades of dizzying growth, the party is over.

For most of the last decade, Spain kept its fiscal house in strict order, running small deficits or even surpluses. The country enjoyed a long boom after joining the euro zone, as low interest rates fueled a surge in construction. The boom, while it lasted, gave Spain the world’s highest rate of homeownership — with more than 8 of every 10 Spanish households owning the places they lived.

But it came to an end with the 2008 financial crisis, and the resulting recession sent Spain’s unemployment rate soaring. Spain has also seen its deficits swell and has been forced to pay high interest rates as investors worried about its solvency. Given the size of the Spanish economy and the weakness of its banks, Spain has become the biggest worry facing the European Union.

In late September, the pressures on Mr. Rajoy’s government mounted, as demonstrators besieged Parliament and the leader of Catalonia, Spain’s most powerful economic region, called an early election for Nov. 25 that could turn into an unofficial referendum on whether to split from the rest of the country.

Read @ The New York Times