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Europe’s Austerity Backlash Gathers Steam in Merkel Test

Europe’s backlash against austerity gained momentum, in a challenge to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s budget-cutting prescriptions for resolving the debt crisis.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy lost the first round of his re-election bid and a revolt against extra spending cuts in the traditionally budget-conscious Netherlands propelled Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition toward an early breakup.