Prime minister quits as party head
Ireland’s prime minister, Brian Cowen, has resigned as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail party but said Saturday he would remain as premier until a parliamentary electionMarch 11.
Cowen’s decision to split the role of party leader and prime minister is highly unusual and crowns a week of high drama in which a botched attempt to reshuffle his Cabinet nearly brought down the government and forced him to call an early election.
Fianna Fail’s leadership contest will be held next week and Cowen said he would give the victor his full support.
Cowen and his party are expected to be defeated in the March poll amid widespread anger over their handling of a financial crisis that forced Dublin to seek a humiliating E.U.-IMF bailout and transformed the country from an economic star to a eurozone failure.