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Israel's ruling coalition expands with another right-wing party
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20:28, April 01, 2009

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Israel's ruling Likud party on Wednesday morning clinched a partnership deal with another right-wing party, giving the ruling coalition a more convenient majority in the parliament.

Following several rounds of negotiations, the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party entered the coalition on the first day of Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu's second term as prime minister, reported local news service Ynet.

With Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Jewish Home and Labor already on board, UTJ's addition expanded the ruling coalition from 69 seats to 74 seats in the 120-seat parliament, which will enable the government to comfortably exercise its policies.

The expansion also increases the stability of the coalition, as only one party is left with the ability to crash the Likud-led alliance by itself, namely the 15-seat Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Under the new configuration, right-wing parties possesses 61 seats and enjoys a simple majority by themselves, which apparently would repress the possible counterbalancing influence of the single left-wing party in the coalition, the Labor party.

In light of the traditional tough stance held by right-wing parties on the peace process, the birth of such a rightist-dominated new government has triggered wide-spread worries that progress in the already stalemated peace talks would be increasingly elusive.

Yet Netanyahu on Tuesday told a special parliamentary session for swearing in the incoming government that he is willing to reach comprehensive peace with the Palestinians and the whole Arab world.

Source: Xinhua

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