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Israeli parliament in session to vote on new gov't
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09:16, April 01, 2009

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Israeli parliament on Tuesday afternoon began a special session which it is expected to swear in a new government led by second-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The ceremony is currently underway in Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, attended by President Shimon Peres, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and ministers in the new 32nd government.

With some 30 ministers and several deputy ministers, the Netanyahu administration is one of the biggest in Israel's 61-yearhistory.

"Israel is facing great challenges... I believe that the people of Israel are able to cope with challenges," said Netanyahu in an address at the ceremony, which was constantly interrupted by disgruntled attendants.

While pledging to reform education system, guarantee workers' rights and pursue other ambitions on the domestic agenda, Netanyahu also laid emphasis on the diplomatic front, stressing that his government will seek comprehensive peace with the Palestinians and the whole Arab world.

"I'm standing here not with a glee of victory, but with an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I ask for your faith in this time of unprecedented crisis and trials," said the incoming prime minister.

Immediately before his successor's speech, Olmert also addressed the audience, saying that history will judge his government favorably and wishing Netanyahu good luck.

Meanwhile, he urged the next government to push forward the Middle East peace process.


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