Brian Cowen to dissolve Dail and announce election date

The Dail Mr Cowen announced he intends to dissolve parliament next week

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Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has said he will move to dissolve parliament on Tuesday and announce the date of a general election.

The finance bill, the last piece of legislation underpinning the 2011 budget, was cleared through parliament on Thursday.

It has now moved to the Senate, or upper house, for approval.

Last weekend, Mr Cowen stepped down as Fianna Fail leader but said he would continue running the government.

On Wednesday, former foreign minister Micheal Martin was elected as the new leader of the party.

Fianna Fail has has slumped massively in the polls amid Ireland's financial crisis.

The finance bill is Ireland's final legislative commitment under the 85bn euro ($113bn; £72bn) EU/IMF rescue.

Earlier this month Mr Cowen announced an election date of 11 March, however, it is now likely to take place in February.

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