Irish PM Cowen wins confidence vote

Irish PM Cowen wins confidence vote Dublin: Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen's ruling party says their leader has won a confidence vote of lawmakers and will lead them into a spring election.

Cowen's Fianna Fail party says that Cowen won yesterday night's confidential vote versus his only challenger, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin.

To win, Cowen needed to receive a majority of votes from Fianna Fail's 71 lawmakers. Because it was a secret ballot, each vote was recorded and then the ballot paper destroyed. No final vote figures were announced, only a victor.

Cowen sought the confidence vote after suffering months of speculation that he would be forced to resign before an expected spring election. Fianna Fail has fallen to a record-low 14 per cent in recent opinion polls.