The Green Party has announced that it is pulling out of the ruling coalition in the Republic of Ireland.
This move is consequently expected to bring forward the general election due on 11 March.
The party’s announcement means that the ruling coalition loses its two seat majority and leaves the country’s financial bill in jeapody.
This comes after the controversial announcement by PM Brian Cowen on Saturday, after he announced he was quitting as leader of his Fianna Fail party but was staying as Prime Minister of the country.
A move that was described as “farcical” by his opponents.
Fianna Fail had insisted the Green’s stay in the coalition to make sure the vital financial bill was passed before the general election scheduled for March.
Although the Green Party will join the opposition benches immediately, the party has said that it still supports the financial bill.
Green Party leader John Gormley, said: “For a very long time we have stood back in the hope that Fianna Fail could resolve persistent doubts about their party leadership.
“A definitive resolution of this has not yet been possible and our patience has reached an end. Because of these continuing doubts, the lack of communication and the breakdown in trust we have decided that we can no longer continue in government.
“We will remain true to our promise to support the finance bill from the opposition benches.”
After the Greens’ announcement, Mr Cowen said: “The important thing now is to have an orderly completion of the finance bill in the interests of the country and then obviously we move to a dissolution of the [parliament] and a general election.”
After suffering the loss of two Green Party cabinet ministers, he now faces the opposition with the minimum constitutionally allowed, with only seven of the fifteen positions filled.
Next week will be focussed on producing and passing the financial bill as quickly as possible, and a vote of no confidence to be put forward by the opposition.
If Mr Cowen lost the motion he would be obliged to resign and call an election within four weeks.
Speculation suggests that Cowen will try to persuade the opposition to hold off on the no-confidence motion for as long as possible, to ensure the debate and passage of the finance bill through parliament.
The bill is designed to cut the government’s deficit in line with the bail out deal given by the EU in November.
The Greens want all-party talks on Monday to rush the bill through as soon as possible.