Ireland elects new prime minister

May 7, 2008 8:04:56 AM PDT
Lawmakers have overwhelmingly elected Brian Cowen to be Ireland's new prime minister. Cowen received support Wednesday from all three parties in the government of predecessor Bertie Ahern. He easily defeated opposition nominees in an 88-76 vote.

Cowen is expected to reshuffle the Cabinet within hours. Posts to be filled include Cowen's former positions of deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Police erected barriers outside the parliamentary building to contain more than 1,000 Cowen supporters who chanted and sang in celebration of his victory. Many traveled by chartered bus from Cowen's power base in the rural Irish midlands.

Cowen says he is "looking forward to it, and getting ready for the action."