Irish PM Refuses to Quit Over Debt Crisis

Despite the fact that his own party is pretty angry
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 16, 2011 3:20 PM CST
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen.   (Peter Morrison)

(Newser) – Prime Minister Brian Cowen refused to resign despite mounting anger within his own party over his management of Ireland's European-record deficit and its international bailout. Cowen successfully appealed to lawmakers planning a no-confidence motion to hold fire for a few more days at least. Crucially, his perceived chief rival for the party leadership, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, declined to declare his interest in ousting Cowen as many lawmakers expected.

The premier stressed he must be permitted to stay in power long enough for his government to pass emergency deficit-slashing legislation in coming weeks. Then he would call a spring election—Cowen said he held out hope of leading his Fianna Fail party into that contest. But many analysts said they expect the party to pick a new leader for the campaign. Cowen's survival leaves Ireland's parliament on course to debate and pass the Finance Bill 2011, a measure that will raise income taxes as part of a wider plan to slash $8 billion from this year's deficit. Pressure within Fianna Fail for Cowen's removal has been growing since his U-turn on taking the EU-IMF bailout, a rescue that Cowen had long insisted Ireland would never need.

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