Spain and Ireland are two countries in the euro zone that have gone months without a government and the absence of an elected leader is raising concerns that they might not be ready for further economic shocks.
Spain has been without a government since 21 December 2015, after the general election failed to produce an overall majority for any of the country's main political parties. Fresh elections are set to be conducted next week to give the voters another chance to elect a new leader.
It has been 122 days for Spain, while for Ireland it has only been 55 days.
Both Ireland and Spain have been warned by various economists on the impact this could have on their economy. Recently, an ECB working paper criticized Spain for failing to continue structural reforms. The paper highlighted that debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio still remained a burden on the economy and failure to secure a government has undone fiscal adjustments and progress made in recent years.
"The needed progress on fiscal consolidation has come to a halt, with part of the structural adjustment implemented in earlier years being reversed," the ECB said in a statement.
The ECB further added that in 2015, most of Spain's regions, along with its social security sector, fell significantly short of meeting their domestic fiscal targets. Windfall gains stemming from dynamic growth and a low interest rate environment have not been used to accelerate the deficit reduction. As a result, the deficit target of 4.2 per cent has been missed by a large margin, the ECB said.