Trimble Returns to Power in Northern Ireland

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BELFAST, Northern Ireland?Shouting over heckling and shoving hard-liners, First Minister David Trimble returned to power Tuesday as leader of a Northern Ireland government saved from the brink of collapse.

Trimble’s re-election by the lawmakers gave a new lease on life to the Protestant-Catholic coalition at the heart of the peace process. It came four days after Protestant hard liners threatened to bring down the power-sharing government by blocking his return to office.

“We will carry through the work, and we will not allow ourselves to be distracted by the sort of mob violence that some parties descend to,” said Trimble, a Protestant.

Barely 10 feet away, Protestant lawmakers opposed to his re-election jostled and traded insults with Catholic politicians.

Britain and Ireland heralded the victory as likely to usher in a period of relative political stability.