Ireland's lower house of parliament has passed a deficit-cutting budget designed to comply with a massive international bailout's requirements, in a victory for the embattled minority government.
The bill passed the Dail (DOY-el) 81-to-76 and goes to the upper house, which will debate the issue Friday and Saturday, broadcaster RTE reports.
Governing party Fianna Fail's newly-elected leader assumed his post Thursday. Former Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, 50, was among the ministers who deserted Prime Minister Brian Cowen's cabinet in recent days.
Cowen resigned as party leader on Saturday.
Cowen set early elections for March 11, and opposition parties are trying to force him to hold them earlier. Polls suggest Fianna Fail is headed for an electoral disaster.