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Irish PM: No decision on elections until budget, bailout finalized

By the CNN Wire Staff
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How to save Ireland
  • Prime Minister Brian Cowen: "It is imperative for this country that the budget is passed"
  • Green Party called for new elections after Cabinet agreed to accept rescue package
  • Europe, IMF and Ireland continue to negotiate details of the bailout

(CNN) -- Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen on Monday said he will delay any decision on whether to go ahead with national elections until the 2011 budget is passed and negotiations on the details of an international bailout package are finalized.

"I'm saying that it is imperative for this country that the budget is passed," Cowen said at a news conference Monday evening in Dublin.

"I'm also saying that it is highly important in the interests of political stability that that happens.

"It's very important for people to understand that any further delay in this matter in fact weakens this country's position."

Earlier Monday, the Green Party, one of several parties in Ireland's coalition government, called for new elections amid controversy after the Cabinet signed off on the bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Green leader John Gormley wants the elections to be held at the end of January.

Cowen confirmed that he would seek the dissolution of the Dail (parliament) when legislative actions have been taken: passage of the 2011 budget; publication of a four-year fiscal plan; and confirmation of the bailout loans.