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Irish prime minister calls June 6 election

May 15, 1997
Web posted at: 10:19 p.m. EDT (0219 GMT)

DUBLIN, Ireland (CNN) -- Defying opinion polls that show his "Rainbow Coalition" at a disadvantage, Prime Minister John Bruton on Thursday called for national elections June 6.

He told members of the Irish parliament that he expects to rally public support by focusing on jobs and prosperity.

In recent polls, Bruton's government has lagged by up to 15 percentage points behind its opposition, which includes Ireland's largest party, Fianna Fail.

Bruton has taken a cautious approach to peace talks in British-ruled Northern Ireland, and has refused to talk with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams since the Irish Republican Army broke a cease-fire in February 1996.

In contrast, Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern says he will be more assertive toward Britain, and met with Adams as recently as Wednesday.


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