Elections could change tone of austerity in Europe
The day after Francois Hollande rode to power in France on a slogan of ‘‘change now’’ the conversation in Europe is already different: Austerity has become a dirty word. In Greece, political parties who reject the extreme belt-tightening required by international bailouts were the big winners in parliamentary elections. German voters in a northern state ousted the coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party, which has pressed the case for austerity. And France, of course, elected Hollande, its first Socialist president in more than a decade and one who has promised more government spending to stimulate the economy.