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The Irish parliament elected a conservative prime minister today, filling a month-old vacuum that threatened to derail the Northern Ireland peace process. John Bruton, leader of the Fine Gael party and the new P.M., is on the record as supporting the peace process that's been underway since September when the Irish Republican Army declared a ceasefire. Still, he has criticized the quick pace with which his predecessor, Albert Reynolds, embraced the IRA. Reynolds lost his seat in a scandal last month over the extradition of an alleged child-abusing Roman Catholic priest. Bruton was elected to head his country in an 85-74 vote. He now heads a government formed with the support of a coalition of three parties.