Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

  • Hamas rockets reaching deeper into Israel

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Gaza as militants target Israeli cities

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

Middle east

Netanyahu secures ultra-Orthodox Shas as coalition partner

©

Latest update : 2009-03-23

After inconclusive elections in February, right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu is finally close to forming a coalition in the Israeli parliament after the ultra-orthodox Shas party agreed a deal with Likud.

REUTERS - Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud signed a coalition deal with ultra-Orthodox party Shas party early on Monday, party officials said, bringing the right-wing leader closer to assuming the premiership.

 

Shas lined up alongside Yisrael Beitenu as partners in Netanyahu's fledgling coalition. Likud secured a deal with the ultra-right-wing party earlier this month.

  

"Israel is set to face many challenges, both social and economic and on the diplomatic and security front, as a result it is only right to combine forces and form a broad government," Shas leader Eli Yishai told journalists after the deal was signed.

  

Likud legislator Gideon Saar, a member of Netanyahu's negotiating team, said the party would strive to broaden the coalition further in the coming days.

  

"Now we have 53 lawmakers tied into coalition agreements headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and in the coming days we will work to broaden the parliamentary base for support for his government," Saar said.

  

Netanyahu, who served as prime minister from 1996 to 1999, faces an April 3 deadline to complete the formation of a government after being given the task last month by President Shimon Peres.

  

As a next stage, Netanyahu is trying to recruit the centre-left Labour party, which will conditionally open coalition talks later on Monday.

  

Labour leader Ehud Barak, the outgoing defence minister and a former prime minister and military chief, said he would ask his party's executive for a mandate to join Netanyahu's government when it meets on Tuesday.

  

Barak issued a statement late on Monday saying he had appointed three allies to negotiate on Labour's behalf.

  

He faces strong opposition from party rivals who say joining the government would sound the death knell for Labour, once the dominant force in Israeli politics and now, with 13 seats, the fourth-largest party in the Knesset. 

 

Collision course

  

Likud won 27 seats and the centrist Kadima of outgoing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni polled 28, while Yisrael Beitenu won 15 and Shas had 11.

 

If Labour refuses to join, Netanyahu could be left with the option of forming a narrow right-wing coalition and giving a prominent role to Yisrael Beitenu's leader, Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister.

  

This could put Netanyahu on a collision course with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama who has pledged to pursue an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

  

Yisrael Beitenu wants to trade land where Israeli-Arab citizens live in exchange for Jewish settlements in the West Bank in any peace deal with Palestinians.

  

Lieberman has called for all Israelis to take an oath of loyalty to the Jewish state as a condition for citizenship.

  

Netanyahu's efforts to court Kadima appeared to have ended unsuccessfully.

  

Livni has demanded Netanyahu commit to U.S.-backed talks with Palestinians for a two-state solution as a condition for joining a government. She also wanted a power-sharing arrangement, a call so far rejected by Netanyahu.

  

Netanyahu, who clashed with former U.S. President Bill Clinton over Middle East policies when he was last prime minister, has said he wants to shift the focus of Palestinian statehood talks from territorial to economic issues, an idea by rejected by the Palestinians.

Date created : 2009-03-23

Comments

COMMENT(S)