29 Jan '11, 9pm

Irish senate passes bailout bill ahead of election

Irish senate passes bailout bill ahead of election

DUBLIN: Ireland's upper house of parliament on Saturday passed a key finance bill needed to secure the country's bailout package, paving the way for embattled Prime Minister Brian Cowen to call elections. The budget, which hikes taxes and slashes spending as part of the price for the 67.5 billion euro ($91 billion) European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout -- had already passed the lower house of parliament on Thursday. "The finance bill now goes to the president for signing into law," a government spokesman said. Cowen, who quit as leader of his Fianna Fail party a week ago and was forced to fast-track the bill through parliament, has said he will ask President Mary McAleese to dissolve parliament on Tuesday and call a general election. The vote is expected on February 25. Two polls on Saturday showed Fianna Fail heading for the worst defeat in its history in the...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_world_business...

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