Two countries in Europe had important elections last weekend – France and Greece. Both elections went against the conservative parties in power.
Experts are saying this could be a sign that more countries in Europe will protest against spending cuts by voting out current governments.
In France a new party and a new president were elected.
Francois Hollande is the head of the Socialist Party, and he was elected president, over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. (Incumbent means “currently in power.”)
The Socialists, or “leftist” party has not been in power for more than 20 years. Hollande said he believes the way to succeed is to create jobs and trade with other countries.
Greece did not get a new government, but the people did take votes away from the conservative parties.
Last year those parties agreed to borrow money to pay Greece’s debts. But in exchange, they promised to start up an austerity program—a very harsh, cost-cutting plan that slashes the country’s spending. (Usually what gets cut are health and welfare benefits and government jobs.)
People in Greece have been protesting in the streets against the cuts.
In a northern state of Germany, the conservative party was also recently kicked out because its plan for cutting expenses was rejected by the people.
In the last year, at least eight of 17 Euro-zone leaders have been forced out of office because the people were unhappy with their proposed austerity plans.