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Irish PM calls for secret vote

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen defied calls to resign as head of the ruling Fianna Fail party yesterday and instead offered colleagues the chance to vote on his leadership in a secret ballot this week.

DUBLIN – Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen defied calls to resign as head of the ruling Fianna Fail party yesterday and instead offered colleagues the chance to vote on his leadership in a secret ballot this week.

Cowen’s move is only a stay of execution ahead of a general election, likely in March, that is expected to oust him and his government following an unprecedented economic crisis and humiliating EU/IMF bailout.

He has promised to call the election once his government’s tough 2011 austerity budget clears a final hurdle in parliament, a vow he reiterated yesterday.

 
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