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Protestant party rejects justice plans

The No. 2 Protestant party in Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionists, says it can't support the next step in power-sharing with Catholics and won't vote to elect a a justice minister next week.

Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey said Friday his lawmakers don't believe the Catholic-Protestant coalition is ready to run a Justice Department in place of Britain.

Ulster Unionist opposition won't stop the Northern Ireland Assembly from electing a justice minister Tuesday. The vote requires backing only from the province's two largest parties: the Protestants of the Democratic Unionists and the Catholics of Sinn Fein.

Both are expected to vote for a compromise candidate, David Ford, who leads a small cross-community party called Alliance.

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