Irish prime minister wins vote of confidence

Dublin – Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen won a vote of confidence Tuesday from members of his party who determined he should lead them into the next election, CNN reports. “The party are united behind Brian Cowen as leader and we move forward both in terms of the continuation of the work with a national recovery plan and our preparations for a general election,” said John Curran, a party spokesman.
Cowen had announced Sunday that he was putting himself up for a confidence vote in the face of widespread Irish anger at his decision to seek an international financial bailout. He said he wanted to keep his post and seek re-election.

Finance Minister Brian Leni­han announced Tuesday he would support Cowen, a key boost after Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said Sunday he would not. Cowen is “the only person to lead Fianna Fail into the election,” Lenihan told Irish state broadcaster RTE. Martin tendered his resignation before the vote, and Cowen – who did not accept the offer at the time – accepted it after the vote. Martin had held the post since 2008.

Cowen had consulted with his Fianna Fail party colleagues, then said at a news conference, “I’ve come to the conclusion that I should continue to lead the party.

Ireland’s next elections are due to take place over the next few months. Cowen has become a lightning rod of controversy, largely for his leadership in the economic crisis the country is facing.

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