Irish Finance Minister Cowen declared leader of ruling party

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 15:19 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Irish Finance Minister Brian Cowen was formally declared leader of Fianna Fail, Ireland's biggest political party and the main party in government, at a special parliamentary meeting Wednesday.

Cowen, 48, is set to become taoiseach (prime minister) in May after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announced last week that he was resigning from his position and from the leadership of Fianna Fail amid accusations about his personal finances.

Cowen, who is also deputy prime minister, was the only candidate to succeed Ahern as leader of Fianna Fail. The party won 78 seats in the 166-seat parliament in May 2007 elections.

Ahern steps down on May 6 after 11 years in office. He has been embroiled in controversy concerning cash payments of tens of thousands of euros he received during the 1990s.