Resisting demands from opposition parties to stand down, Brian Cowen has announced he will seek the dissolution of the Irish parliament after the upcoming budgetary processes are completed.
Flanked by his Fianna Fáil cabinet ministers, Brian Cowen made the announcement during a press conference at Government Buildings this evening.
It will take several weeks to complete the budgetary process after which Cowen will formally dissolved the Dail and set a date for a general election.
This means the Irish electorate can expect a election date in February or March of 2011 if the Cowen timetable is adhered to.
However, there is no no guarantee that Cowen can get his budget through the parliament as several of his own back benchers and two independent members have said they may very well oppose it. Failure to pass the budget would result in an immediate election being called.
There is also the possibility that the opposition could call a vote of no confidence in the government, thereby bringing them down sooner rather than later.
“The interests of the electorate, of all the people, will not be served by delaying or worse still casting into doubt the steps which are necessary to secure our economic and financial futures,” Cowen said.
Throughout his ten minute address he reiterated the importance of passing the upcoming December 7th budget.
“The passing if the budget on the 7th of December is hugely important for this country,” he said.
He called on co-operation from all party members in Dail Eireann and asked them to take on the “shared responsibility”.
“We have got to get this budget passed,” he added.
Speaking in Government Buildings this morning, the leader of the Green Party and Minister for environment, John Gormley announced his party would pull out of Government after the budget was passed. He called on Brian Cowen to set a date for the poll.
After Brian Cowen’s press conference this evening, Labour Justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte said the address had “finished off one of the most bizarre days I have ever seen in Leinster house”
Mr Cowen came under increased pressure today to step down with a number of Fianna Fáil backbenchers joining calls from the Opposition for the current Government to resign in the wake of the bailout by the IMF and EU.