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The World | IN BRIEF / NORTHERN IRELAND

Protestant Hard-Liners Battle Against Coalition

November 06, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

The struggle to save Northern Ireland's power-sharing government turned to lawsuits and insults as Protestant hard-liners battled to keep the coalition leaderless and edging toward collapse.

A vote to reelect Ulster Unionist Party chief David Trimble as the government's first minister was rescheduled for today, when backers of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord expected three neutral lawmakers--drafted temporarily into the Protestant voting bloc--to help defeat the hard-liners.

But the Protestant die-hards, led by the Rev. Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, insisted that Friday's vote in the 108-seat legislature--when Trimble was defeated for reelection--must stand.

Though the Democratic Unionists successfully petitioned to prevent a second vote Monday, they lost a court effort to have any leadership vote blocked in favor of a new Northern Ireland-wide election.

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