Irish PM wins confidence vote from his own party

09:42, January 19, 2011      

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Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen had won a motion of confidence at Tuesday evening's ruling Fianna Fail parliamentary party meeting, the country's public broadcaster RTE reported.

At Dublin's Leinster House, the seat of the Irish parliament, Fianna Fail's members of parliament met together to discuss the leadership of the party and to vote on a motion of confidence on the prime minister.

Speaking after the secret ballot, Cowen said he was pleased with the result though the numbers who voted in favor and against the motion were not released.

He said he had had a discussion with Foreign Minister Micheal Martin after the meeting and that Martin had tendered his resignation.

Cowen said he had reluctantly accepted Martin's resignation. But he said they would remain good colleagues and that he would seek to use Martin's talents and abilities whatever way he could in the forthcoming election campaign.

He also said the ruling party had been fighting for the country and its economy in the face of the greatest crisis it had seen in 80 years.

Speaking outside Leinster House afterwards, Martin said he was not interested in "tearing anyone down."

He said the prime minister continued to have his full support and that he would support him in the forthcoming election campaign.

Martin also said he had made it clear he would insist on resigning if his views did not prevail in the ballot.

In an interview with RTE Tuesday morning, Martin, who on Sunday declared the party needed a new leader, said the management of the IMF intervention in Irish affairs was a "watershed moment" that led him to question Cowen's position.

Martin is the only cabinet member to publicly say he does not support Cowen.

On Tuesday afternoon, Finance Minister Brian Lenihan declared his support for Cowen and more than half of Fianna Fail's 71 MPs earlier said they would back Cowen.

Cowen needed the support of at least 36 MPs to carry the motion.

Source: Xinhua

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