[QODLink]
Middle East

Israeli parties sign coalition agreements

Deals with Binyamin Netanyahu paves way for the PM to inform the president that a governmnent has been formed.
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2013 14:50
Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, has been named as Israel's new finance minister in the coalition government [Reuters]

Major political parties have signed coalition agreements with Israeli Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu, clearing the way for him to inform President Shimon Peres that a new government has been formed, according to a statement from his office.

Friday's agreement comes after weeks of deadlock.

"The prime minister welcomes the coalition agreements that have been signed between the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu (on one side) and the Yesh Atid party and the Jewish Home," the statement from Netanyahu's office said.

"On Saturday evening, the prime minister will inform President Shimon Peres that he has completed the task" of forming a government."

Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister who leads a small party, joined last month.

Talks were stuck for weeks over the division of cabinet portfolios and reforms in the military draft law.

The new coalition is the first in a decade to exclude Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.

It includes two new rising stars who have pledged to end a system of draft exemptions and welfare subsidies granted to thousands of ultra-Orthodox students.

Yair Lapid, a former TV anchor whose upstart political party was the biggest surprise in Israel's election, was named the country's new finance minister, his spokesman said.

Lapid, who will replace Yuval Steinitz once a new government is sworn in, ran largely on a platform of easing the financial burden on the middle class through the need to share the national burden, a rejection of privileges for the ultra-Orthodox.

He will be forced to make steep government spending cuts and raise taxes to keep Israel's budget deficit under control.

241

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.