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Cowen survives leadership ballot

posted 18 Jan 2011, 16:20 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Jan 2011, 16:22 ]

Ireland's leader survives a secret leadership ballot on his leadership during current financial crisis.

Ireland's Prime Minister Brian Cowen won a secret ballot on his leadership of the ruling Fianna Fail party as expected on Tuesday (January 18) securing his position until a parliamentary election, possibly in March.

In a post on the Twitter 

website, Fianna Fail said its parliamentary party had voted confidence in Cowen.

The meeting began shortly before six o'clock in the evening and the vote took place just after nine. The vote was by secret ballot and the margin will not be made public.

Despite Tuesday's victory, Cowen's days as prime minister and party leader are numbered after he was forced to apply for a bailout from the EU and the IMF late last year to deal with a banking crisis that brought the economy to the brink of collapse.

Cowen also accepted the resignation of his Foreign Minister Micheal Martin who had opposed a motion of confidence in Cowen's leadership of their party.

"He remains a very good friend," Cowen told national broadcaster RTE.

Speaking shortly afterwards, Martin told reporters he continued to support Cowen as the head of government and looked forward to the coming election.

"We've had a mature and positive debate leading to a clear resolution. I fully respect the decision of my colleagues and I'm very encouraged by the general spirit of the conversations. There's no doubt that we now have a renewed sense of energy and commitment to bringing our message to the people. We go into this election as a united party behind out leader," he said.