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Bibi inks coalition in the nick of time

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the weekly cabinet meeting in his office in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to clinch a deal with the nationalist Jewish Home party on Wednesday night, securing a new ruling coalition with a tiny majority in the 120-member parliament.

At a joint press conference, the fourth-time prime minister announced the deal, which was reached hours before the deadline to form the new government that is going to expire midnight on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.

“I’m sure no one is surprised of the fact these negotiations continued with all of the factions, and no one was surprised that it ended on time,” Netanyahu said.

“This is not a government for right-wing people or left-wing people or center people but for the entire people of Israel,” Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett told reporters.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu, we are behind you, we will do everything to assist your success and for the success of the government. We’ve reached a fine and worthy result for all involved. This government can complete a term,” Bennett added.

The agreement between the parties was not officially inked, as final details will be hashed out in the upcoming days, but they have reached a basic understanding on the Jewish Home’s intention to join the government.

Netanyahu will have until next week to present his new government and have it inaugurated. On Monday, Netanyahu must present the members of his new government to the Knesset plenum. He will still have to make final decisions on how to allocate the portfolios among members of his own Likud party.

Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 out of 120 seats in the parliament in the March 17 elections. President Reuven Rivlin tasked him with establishing the next government.

He received an initial period of 28 days and then an extension of 14 days, to end negotiations. In the past week the Likud party signed coalition deals with the center Kulanu party, the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism parties and, lastly, the Jewish Home party.

Commenting the new coalition on his twitter page, Labor party leader Yitzhak Herzog, whose party gained 24 seats in the parliament, said that the upcoming government “lacks responsibility, stability and governability.”

“This is a weak and narrow government which would not promote anything and will be quickly replaced by an alternative of hope and responsibility,”the left-wing politician wrote.