Voters prepare to cast their ballots in the Irish general election at St. Patrick's National School in Castlebar, Ireland, on Feb. 25. The election has been dominated by debate on how to rebuild an economy brought low by the collapse of a property boom, which in turn led to a bailout of Ireland's banks. Unemployment has soared to more than 13 percent.
The drawn-out wrangling over the 'fiscal cliff' in Washington couldn’t have happened in Ireland. Getting a bill passed in Europe is a straightforward exercise for one simple reason: parliamentary democracy. But caution: Such a system also helped cause Europe's debt woes.