Election Announced For Early Next Year

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has relented to the Green Party's ultimatum by agreeing to call an election after the budget is passed in the second half of January 2011.

Announcing the move last night at a press conference in Government Buildings, Mr Cowen spoke of the "imperative of serving the national interest" and how that interest transcended other concerns, including party political and personal concerns.

"It is my intention at the conclusion of the budgetary process, with the enactment of the [budget] in the new year, to then seek a dissolution of Dáil Éireann and to enable the people to determine who should undertake the responsibilities of government in the challenging period ahead."

The Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley said this morning his party would pull out of Government after the budget was passed, effectively dissolving the coalition and forcing Fianna Fail to call an election.

He criticised Fianna Fáil over the bailout plans, accusing ministers of "miscommunication" over the bailout issue. “We were given an official line ... which was essentially a mixed message,” he said.

Welcoming the Green Party's push for a general election, Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore said the Green Party had at last recognised what the country had realised for many months, that the government is long passed its "sell-by date" and incapable of leading the country to economic recovery.

"Fianna Fail has made a mess of the country; they have crippled the economy and brought national morale to an unprecedented low."

Mr Gilmore, whose party is currently ahead in the polls, said that after 13 years of "bad government" and weeks of "lying to the Irish people", the unprecedented bailout effectively represented the handing over of the deeds of the country to the EU and the IMF.

"It is essential that we have a new government elected as soon as possible. My preference would be for dissolution of the Dail today and the holding of a general election at the earliest possible date provided for under law. This would allow the election of a new government by the middle of December."

Mr Gilmore said the Labour Party will be contesting the general election with the objective of being the biggest party in the next government and the election of the first ever Labour Taoiseach.

"We will be running candidates in every single constituency and are well placed to achieve our objectives."


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