The Fianna Fail, the principal party in Ireland’s ruling coalition government, has elected former foreign minister Micheal Martin as its new boss, a few days after Brian Cowen resigned from the post.

Martin beat out three other contenders -- finance minister Brian Lenihan, tourism minister Mary Hanafin, and social protection minister Éamon Ó Cuív.

Fianna Fail, battered in public sentiment over its handling of Ireland’s financial crisis, may face a grueling general election next month.

Meanwhile, the country’s Parliament is set to pass the government’s austerity package bills – which includes severe spending cuts in response to the term foe the massive bailout Ireland received from the EU and IMF.