State vote in Germany may signal the end of austerity consensus

Greece, France, and the most populous state in Germany -- what they have in common is opposition to Germany's austerity plans to deal with the monumental debt problems of the euro zone. And Angela Merkel, Germany's embattled Chancellor, could suffer the electoral consequences of this fracturing of the austerity coalition. The Greek government that negotiated the bailout was defeated in last week's elections and is likely to elect a far left government in next month's second round of voting that will reject the terms of the EU/IMF bailout. And Merkel's partner in the austerity coalition, Nicholas Sarkozy, was also ousted by socialist Francois Hollande, who promised to restore budgdet cuts and perks to unions and students. Now Merkel faces defeat in an important state election. Reuters: Voting began on Sunday in Germany's most populous state where Angela Merkel's conservatives face a defeat that could give the left momentum before next year's federal election and fuel criticism of...(Read Full Post)