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Slideshow: Ten pivotal moments in the year of politics

Leadership coups that worked (and those which didn’t); politicians who resigned (and those who should have); diplomatic gambles that worked (and those that failed): 2010 had it all.

A WEEK IS a long time in politics: a year seems like forever. Doesn’t it seem like an age since Fianna Fail were top of the polls, since Gordon Brown was in office with David Cameron looking enviously on? While Budget 2011 has dominated political – and public – debate in the latter quarter of this year, it wasn’t the only tumultuous event this year.

Here are ten moments when the political world, at home and abroad, turned on its head:

Slideshow: Ten pivotal moments in the year of politics
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  • Garglegate

    Taoiseach Brian Cowen says he was merely hoarse when conducting a radio interview with Morning Ireland from the Fianna Fail think-in last September. He said the suggestion that he had been "drunk or hungover" on air after staying up till the wee hours singing and telling stories was "without justification and foundation".
  • Gordon's gaffe

    If Brian Cowen provided the car crash radio moment of the year, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown created the same for television when he was caught calling pensioner Gillian Duffy "a bigoted woman" on an open mic shortly after he spoke to her on the campaign trail in April. David Cameron and his Conservative party went on to rout Brown and Labour from Government at the general election poll and formed a coalition with the Lib Dems.
  • Willie stay or Willie go

    Willie O'Dea resigns as Defence Minister in February, saying controversy surrounding an affidavit he made to the High Court would "distract from the important and vital work of the Government". In the affidavit, O'Dea had denied claiming in an interview with a journalist that he had connected a SF councillor with a brothel. He later withdrew that denial.
  • Australia Election

    Julia Gillard became Australia's first female prime minister in June after she challenged sitting PM Kevin Rudd for leadership of the ruling Federal Labour Party party, of which she was deputy leader. When it became apparent to Rudd that he didn't have the party's support, he stood aside and Gillard became leader and Prime Minister.
  • Labour in the lead

    Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore happily peruses The Irish Times after an opinion poll in the paper in June showed Labour had become the most popular party in the country for the first time ever.
  • Goodbye GLee

    RTE's George Lee turned his back on a very brief political career when he resigned as a Fine Gael TD after just nine months in the job. He said he was frustrated at having "virtually no influence, no input whatsoever" on FG economic policy.
  • Ask. Tell.

    US President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act in December, allowing gay people the right to openly serve in the American military.
  • Heave, no.

    Richard Bruton and Enda Kenny shake hands in June after Kenny wins the vote at a crucial parliamentary party meeting for the leadership of Fine Gael. Kenny sacked Bruton from his position as deputy leader after he failed to pledge his support to Kenny as leader.
  • To you, Mrs Robinson

    Iris Robinson officially announced her resignation from elective office in Northern Ireland in January this year after revelations that she had had an affair with a 19-year-old man, and allegations of financial impropriety. Her husband, First Minister Peter Robinson, temporarily stood down from his post in the wake of the scandal but retook his role in February.
  • Their day has come?

    As well as rising in the opinion polls this year, Sinn Fein scored a significant win in the Donegal South West bye-election which put Pearse Doherty in the Dail. As the year drew to a close, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams announced he was stepping down as an MP - and would contest the Louth constituency in the upcoming general election here.

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