New Israeli government formed

March 15, 2013 at 4:07 PM
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JERUSALEM, March 15 (UPI) -- Negotiations between Israeli political parties concluded Friday with coalition agreements, paving the way for the swearing-in of a new government next week.

Discussions came to an end after six weeks Friday, when the centrist Yesh Atid and right-wing Habayit Hayehudi parties signed agreements with the right-wing Likud Beytenu party, Israeli media reported Friday.

The 68-member coalition in the legislative Knesset, which will include the liberal Hatnua Party, allows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to form a new government, The Jerusalem Post said.

Netanhayu praised the agreements, promising all parties would "cooperate for all of Israel's citizens."

The coalition was formed one day before an extension of time, granted by Israeli President Shimon Peres, was to expire, Haaretz reported.

The agreement assigned ministerial positions to various party leaders, with those in the socio-economic sphere going to the Habayit Hayehudi faction, the website said, noting Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid would serve as finance minister.

Netanyahu will officially inform Peres Saturday evening the task of forming the new government is complete, the Post said.

At a press briefing aboard Air Force One Friday, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama will talk with leaders after the Israeli government is installed about what commitments they are willing to make to further the peace process. Obama is to visit Israel next week.

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