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|Thursday, June 08, 2000, updated at 09:08(GMT+8)|
Israeli Parliament Backs Early Election in Preliminary ReadingIsrael's Knesset (parliament) Wednesday passed in a preliminary reading a motion proposed by opposition parties to hold early elections, an event that may hamper Prime Minister Ehud Barak's efforts to push forward the Middle East peace process.
The motion, submitted by Knesset members Avigdor Lieberman from National Union, Yisrael Beiteinu and Silvan Shalom from the major opposition Likud party, was approved with a vote of 58-47, with 15 Knesset members failing to show up on the occasion.
The bill only needs a simple majority in the 120-seat Knesset in Wednesday's preliminary reading voting.
Several ruling partners in Barak's government, including the ultra-Orthodox Shas party who holds 17 seats in the Knesset, voted along with the oppositions to dissolve the current 15th Knesset, a move that is likely prompt Barak to reshuffle his coalition.
Earlier Wednesday, officials in Barak's office spread news that Barak and his confidants are trying to recruit Shinui, Democratic List and Am Ehad parties into a new and narrow coalition, according to Israel Radio reports.
The Radio also said the prime minister planned to impose the Transition Law on any ministers who voted in favor of early elections, which means that they will be kicked out of the government within a week after the vote.
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