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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Israel: Hope for Labor Party Support

Israeli radio says Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and moderate Labor Party leader Ehud Barak reached a coalition deal Tuesday.

The report says the Labor Party will soon vote on the pact, which allows Mr. Barak to remain Israel's defense minister as part of the agreement. Many Labor lawmakers say they oppose joining Mr. Netanyahu's coalition, which includes his right-wing Likud party, ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party and Orthodox Jewish Shas party.

Analysts in Israel say the coalition government would appear more broad and moderate if the Labor Party signs on. If approved, the new coalition will give Mr. Netanyahu a political partnership that holds 66 of parliament's 120 seats. The Shas party agreed Monday to join Mr. Netanyahu's coalition government, which will be dominated by right-wing parties that oppose giving many concessions to the Palestinians.

President Shimon Peres has given Mr. Netanyahu until April third to create a coalition government.

Mr. Netanyahu was tasked with forming a new government following elections last month.

Source: VOA News

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