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Brian Cowen takes over as Ireland's Prime Minister

The former Minister of Finance has taken over the job of Taoiseach following Bertie Ahern's resignation.
The former Minister of Finance has taken over the job of Taoiseach following Bertie Ahern's resignation.

As expected, Brian Cowen has succeeded Bertie Ahern as Ireland's Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil party leader following Mr Ahern's resignation from the post on May 6th 2008.

Bertie Ahern announced on 2nd April that he would step down as Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader as a consequence of an ongoing controversy over his personal finances.

Incoming Taoiseach Brian Cowen was nominated for the job by the Irish Parliament, Dáil Éireann, on 7th May and was elected by 88 votes to 76.

He was also the sole nominee for the position of Fianna Fáil party leader, becoming the seventh person to hold the title of president of the party.

Mr Cowen's first decision after taking office was to reshuffle Bertie Ahern's Cabinet.

Former Minister for Agriculture Mary Coughlan was promoted to Tanaiste and Entreprise Minister, and the former Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan was promoted to the post of Finance Minister.

The Taoiseach also announced some of his priorities for Government, including a reform of the public sector and the national health service, and the ratification of the European Reform Treaty on June 12th.

The main opposition party leader, Enda Kenny from Fine Gael, called for the dissolution of the Parliament and the holding of a general election on the basis that whoever takes over the leadership of the nation needs to have an electoral mandate.

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