Special Report

12 Countries That Hate Their Government Most

12. Spain
> Pct. approving of government: 20% (tied-ninth highest)
> Pct. believe gov’t corruption widespread: 89% (8th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2013): 26.1% (4th highest)

Just 20% of Spanish residents surveyed by Gallup approved of their government, tied with three other nations as the ninth-lowest proportion in the world. However, disapproval of leadership is hardly limited to Spain’s own elected officials. Just 27% of Spaniards approved of EU leadership in 2013. Additionally, the wealthy, populous, and highly self-governed region of Catalonia has had a surge in interest in independence from Spain. Several issues may contribute to the dissatisfaction of Spaniards with authority, including the belief of 89% of people surveyed that corruption in the country is widespread — among the most globally. Spain’s unemployment rate of 26% in 2013, among the world’s highest, may may have also bred mistrust in the Spanish government’s ability to help the people.

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11. Portugal
> Pct. approving of government: 20% (tied-ninth highest)
> Pct. believe gov’t corruption widespread: 86% (tied-17th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2013): 16.2% (11th highest)

Portugal’s economy has struggled in recent years. An unemployment rate of 16.2% last year, high levels of government debt, and several consecutive years of shrinking GDP, have all been problems in the country. The country required emergency financial assistance from the EU and IMF in 2011, and it only recently exited the bailout program. However, soon thereafter, one of Portugal’s largest banks, Banco Espirito Santo, had to be bailed out by the government amid a financial collapse involving complex transactions by its parent that have raised allegations of fraud. Just 31% of Portuguese respondents approved of EU leadership last year, and just 29% approved of the leadership of Germany — often considered the dominant power in the current European political climate.

10. Jamaica
> Pct. approving of government: 20% (tied-ninth highest)
> Pct. believe gov’t corruption widespread: 86% (tied-17th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2013): 15.3% (16th highest)

Financial hardship and economic instability in Jamaica have contributed to the nation’s abysmal government approval rating. Nearly 60% of Jamaican survey respondents told Gallup they did not have enough money for food in the previous 12 months, and more than 15% of the workforce was unemployed last year, both among the higher rates reviewed. Not only was it hard to find a job, but Jamaica has also had one of the world’s highest inflation rates — consumer prices are projected to rise nearly 9% in 2014. However, according to Brian Wynter, Governor of the Bank of Jamaica, the national economy is weathering inflationary shocks exceptionally well. Despite this, the vast majority of Jamaican citizens did not trust their leadership. Last year, 86% of respondents said they believed corruption was common throughout the government.

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9. Costa Rica
> Pct. approving of government: 20% (tied-ninth highest)
> Pct. believe gov’t corruption widespread: 84% (24th highest)
> Unemployment rate (2013): 8.1% (44th highest)

Compared with other countries in Central America, Costa Rica is policitally stable and has a relatively strong economy. In 2012, the country’s life expectancy was nearly 80 years, one of the higher life expectancies globally. Also, inflation has been in check with consumer prices projected to rise 3.4% this year. Yet, Costa Ricans were not satisfied with their government. Just 20% of residents approved of the government in 2013. Costa Rica has become known as a transit corridor for South American cocaine. The country has also struggled with corruption among government officials. Eighty-four percent of Costa Ricans believed government corruption was widespread last year, one of the higher proportions globally.

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