Parliament elected John Bruton, leader of the conservative Fine Gael party, as prime minister Thursday, ending a monthlong government crisis that had stalled the Northern Irland peace process.
The new government joins Fine Gael and the left-leaning Labor Party in a coalition, with support from the small, Marxist-oriented Democratic Left. Labor and Fine Gael shared power in 1982-87 in the government headed by Garret FitzGerald.In that government, Bruton clashed bitterly with Labor leader
Dick Spring, and the two men who now dominate Irish affairs are said to have a cool relationship.
Bruton, a 47-year-old lawyer, has generally supported the peace process in Northern Ireland but had criticized the speed with which his predecessor, Albert Reynolds, had embraced the IRA's political allies following the Sept. 1 cease-fire.
Reynolds, leader of the Fianna Fail party, resigned Nov. 17 after Spring withdrew from their two-year-old coalition government. Labor walked out in a controversy over the government's handling of the extradition of a child-abusing Roman Catholic priest.
Sinn Fein, the political party allied to the IRA, has accused Bruton and his party of siding with Protestant unionists in Northern Ireland.