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Government outlines cutbacks to welfare and other departments as part of PM pledge to restore "economic sovereignty".
Fine Gael party leads the vote, ending the 80-year dominance of Fianna Fail in an election focused on economic woes.
Exit poll suggests opposition Fine Gael will likely head coalition government as voters desert incumbents over bailout.
Opposition Fine Gael likely to lead next government as unpopular financial bailout takes its political toll.
Ruling Fianna Fail party expected to be punished for euro zone nation's unpopular financial bailout.
Elections likely to be held in late February following agreement to fast-track austerity legislation.
Junior partner in Ireland's coalition government quits, potentially sparking earlier elections.
Brian Cowen steps down as head of Fianna Fail party after week of political crises, but remains prime minister.
Brian Cowen was forced to call for election on March 11 after coalition partners refused to back a cabinet reshuffle.
Brian Cowen survives challenge to his leadership over an EU-IMF bailout ahead of parliamentary elections in March.
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Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
 
 
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