Irish premier expects to win confidence vote

DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said he expects to win a confidence vote among his party's lawmakers and end the internal criticisms of his leadership at a time of unparalleled financial crisis.
Cowen called for Tuesday night's debate and vote among Fianna Fail party lawmakers after weeks of mounting speculation that he was losing support and should resign. Cowen insisted he's the right man to lead Fianna Fail into a spring election it's widely forecast to lose.
Three Cabinet ministers said they want to succeed Cowen as Fianna Fail leader. However, only Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has declared he will vote against Cowen.
Martin has offered his resignation as foreign minister, but Cowen has refused to accept it pending the outcome of Tuesday's secret ballot.
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