Following a group resignation of cabinet members earlier this week, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has called for a parliamentary election in March.
“It’s my intention in due course to seek a dissolution of parliament with a view to a general election taking place on Friday the 11th of March next,” he said.
Since last year, Cowen has faced mounting pressure to set a date following the 85 billion-euro state bailout from the EU and IMF to deal with Ireland’s economic crisis.
As junior coalition partner, the Greens had threatened to withdraw their support unless Cowan’s Fianna Fail party sought approval for a general election.
Political opponents and the Irish public have also criticised Cowen’s efforts to reshuffle the cabinet, claiming that his focus has shifted away from tackling unemployment.
Recent opinion polls suggest Fianna Fail’s popularity has plunged to as low as 14 percent.
Ireland set for March elections