Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said on Saturday he would stand down as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail party but stay on as premier until a parliamentary election on March 11.
"I have decided on my own counsel to step down as Uachtaran (President) of Fianna Fail and leader of Fianna Fail," Cowen told a news conference in a Dublin hotel.
His position as party leader had become untenable after a botched attempt to reshuffle his cabinet nearly brought down his government on Thursday and forced him to call an early parliamentary election.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said on Saturday he expected his government to win a vote of confidence in parliament next week despite his decision to resign as leader of the ruling Fianna Fail party.
"The government will continue to govern the country," Cowen told a news conference in a Dublin hotel.
The opposition Labour party has tabled a motion of no confidence in the government and there will be a vote on it next week. Fianna Fail will choose a new leader through an internal party vote next week, Cowen said.