Austerity overwhelmingly rejected in France, Greece

Tabernac de merde! The IMF just got two more black eyes today. First, in France:

Socialist Francois Hollande swept to victory in France’s presidential election on Sunday in a swing to the left at the heart of Europe that could start a pushback against German-led austerity.

Hollande was set to beat conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by a decisive 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent margin, the TNS-Sofres polling agency said in a projection based on a partial vote count.

The president conceded defeat within 20 minutes of the last polls closing at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT), telling supporters he had telephoned Hollande to wish him good luck.

“I bear the full responsibility for this defeat,” he said.

Sarkozy, punished for his failure to rein in record 10 percent unemployment and for his brash personal style, is the 11th successive leader in the euro zone to be swept from power since the currency bloc’s debt crisis began in 2009.

Then, in Greece:

A cacophony of new voices will have their say in Parliament after a majority of Greeks rejected the two pro-bailout political parties that have dominated the country’s government since the fall of the dictatorship almost 40 years ago, according to an exit poll released after voting stations closed. A weak coalition government between the remnants of those major parties may be the result, analysts say, but its flexibility — and legitimacy — to push further painful austerity measures on the Greek people is likely to be tightly constrained.

The vote was the first chance for the land that invented democracy to exercise it since Greece was enveloped by an economic crisis in late 2009, and voters used the opportunity to topple old pillars of stability. The future of the $171 billion bailout, approved in February, is now further in doubt. If the Greek government fails to live up to promised plans to collect more taxes, drastically cut the size of the public sector and institute further cuts to services, the European Union and International Monetary Fund could pull the plug altogether.

That would likely cast Greece into bankruptcy and would put other European governments on the hook for the billions each has loaned the troubled country through the bailouts. No country has ever received such a large bailout — and no country has been asked to cut so much in return.

Surprise! People don’t take cuts in good grace when the cuts start costing jobs, livelihoods…and increasingly, in Greece, LIVES.

Also, democracy works, but not the way elites like the IMF would have it work. Which is to say, in favor of bailing out the rich while leaving the poor forever on the hook, suckered into paying off odious debts that the elites have no intention of forgiving. At least, not until somebody puts a boot to their collective throat…

It’s now time for the so-called socialist parties of both these countries to remember what their names actually mean, and start working for the people again.

After all, it wasn’t the corporations that elected them, and it isn’t the elites that they should serve.

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