"Voters in Germany's most populous state inflicted an embarrassingly heavy defeat on Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives Sunday and strengthened a regional government that the German leader's party had portrayed as irresponsibly spendthrift."
So does auterity not sell even in Germany?
"The outcome boosted Germany's center-left opposition, and was a bitter pill to swallow for Merkel's Christian Democrats as the country looks toward national elections due late next year and the chancellor grapples with Europe's stubbornly persistent debt crisis."
"The center-left Social Democrats and Greens — Germany's main opposition parties — won combined support of 50.4 percent in the election in North Rhine-Westphalia. That gave them a majority in the state legislature, which they narrowly missed in the last regional election two years ago."
"Meanwhile, support for Merkel's party plunged to 26.3 percent from 34.6 percent in 2010, its worst showing in the state since World War II."
About the only good news for Merkel was that her party's coaliton party the Free Democrats did decently:
"the pro-market Free Democrats, Merkel's struggling partners in the national government, performed respectably, polling 8.6 percent — a result that may help stabilize the party."
Still there's no doubt this was a defeat:
"Even so, senior conservative lawmaker Peter Altmaier said that "this result exceeds our worst fears."
"This is a crashing defeat for Mrs. Merkel and her minister," Nahles said. The Social Democrats' share of the vote climbed to 39.1 percent from 34.5 percent."
"The defeat is bitter, it is clear and it really hurts," Roettgen said minutes after polls closed, announcing that he would give up the leadership of the Christian Democrats' local branch. "This is, above all, my personal defeat."
So if the German people don't vote pro austerity how does Merkel think it will get passed elsewhere? Could it be that people want spendthrifts in power?