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Netanyahu reaches deal on forming new coalition

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-03-14 17:12

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a deal on forming a new ruling coalition, Israeli media reported Thursday.

The deal, made almost two months after the general election, was finalized at negotiations between Netanyahu's rightwing Likud- Beitenu union and the centrist Yesh Atid (Future) party and the rightwing Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party led by Naftali Bennett, which ran late into the night Wednesday, the reports said.

At the talks, Netanyahu reportedly caved in to Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid's demand that his party takes the post of education minister in the new government.

According to a line-up of the 22-member cabinet published by Israeli media, Netanyahu will be prime minister and concurrently foreign minister, Moshe Ya'alon of the Likud defense minister, Yair Lapid finance minister and Naftali Bennett economy and trade minister.

Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister from the Hatnuah (Movement) party, will serve as justice minister in charge of negotiations with Palestinians.

Netanyahu is expected to sign a final agreement with Lapid and Bennett on the formation of the new government Thursday morning and present it to President Shimon Peres.  

The new coalition is expected to be sworn in Monday, two days before the arrival of US President Barak Obama, who will be here on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

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