Trimble wins backing for power-sharing government

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The Independent Online

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble today won the crucial backing of his party to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein next week.

Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble today won the crucial backing of his party to enter a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein next week.

Members of the Ulster Unionists' 858-strong ruling council voted by 480 to 349 to support their leader.

The endorsement came at the end of a tense and emotional three-hour debate and followed Mr Trimble's offer to resign as head of the new Northern Ireland administration if the IRA fail to disarm within the next two months.

The council is to be recalled in February to re-asses the situation - which means that if the Provisional IRA does not begin to empty its secret arms dumps Mr Trimble and his three party colleagues will quit the new ruling executive.

Today's vote gives the go-ahead for the new government to be formed on Monday, with Mr Trimble as First Minister, and SDLP deputy leader Seamus Mallon expected to return as his deputy.

Supporters of the party leader were jubilant when the result was announced at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

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