Mark Simpson
BBC News
January 20, 2011

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has announced that he intends to dissolve parliament and call a general election on 11 March.

The Fianna Fail leader promised that budget laws key to the Irish Republic’s 85bn-euro (£72bn) international bail-out would be passed before then.

In a setback for Mr Cowen, he added that five vacated cabinet seats would be reassigned to existing ministers.

His Green Party allies had apparently refused to back a reshuffle.

Support for the government has fallen sharply since it agreed to the November bail-out.

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