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Israeli President Asks Netanyahu to Form Coalition Government

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Israeli President Asks Netanyahu to Form Coalition Government

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Benjamin Netanyahu has six weeks to form a coalition government after Israel’s recent national elections. President Shimon Peres chose the Likud Party leader because of strong right-wing gains in the vote. If successful, Mr. Netanyahu will become Prime Minister.

It remains to be seen if Mr. Netanyahu will form a right-wing conservative government or a broader coalition including Ehud Barak of the Labor Party and centrist foreign minister Tzipi Livni of the Kadima Party, who is also eyeing the job of Prime Minister.

After accepting the appointment, Mr. Netanyahu did reach out to both Ms. Livni and Mr. Barak. However, Ms. Livni said she would not work with the new government unless she could share the office of prime minister with Mr. Netanyahu on a rotating basis. She also said in a television interview that she would move to the opposition “if necessary.”

Without Ms. Livni’s help, Mr. Netanyahu may be forced to work with hard-line religious and nationalistic parties, which could hinder the Middle East peace process.

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