Ireland PM Cowen Quits as Party Leader
But says he'll lead government through March election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2011 8:21 AM CST
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen speaks at a press conference in Dublin, in this Tuesday, April, 7, 2009 file photo.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison, File)

(Newser) – Prime Minister Brian Cowen says he has resigned as leader of Ireland's dominant Fianna Fail party but intends to keep leading the government through the March election. Cowen's surprise announcement today capped a week of political crises that brought his coalition government to the brink of collapse. Never before in Irish history has a politician sought to remain prime minister without being leader of the main government party.

Cowen was forced by furious party colleagues to quit as Fianna Fail chief after bungling an attempted pre-election Cabinet reshuffle Thursday. The other party in Cowen's government, the Greens, blocked his plan to promote six new faces into Cabinet posts. The Greens forced Cowen instead to announce a March 11 election date.
 

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