ISRAEL’S BENJAMIN NETANYAHU has formally notified President Shimon Peres that after 40 days of tortuous negotiations with potential coalition partners he has formed a new government.
“As you know I was able to form a government,” Peres’s office quoted premier Netanyahu as saying at a meeting in Jerusalem. “You gave me the task and I carried it out.”
Netanyahu had a legal deadline of this evening to form a government or admit defeat. Completion of the new line-up comes just days before a milestone visit by US President Barack Obama to Israel.
“You suffered severe labour pains in the process of forming the government and I congratulate for succeeding in time,” Peres was quoted as telling the premier, in a statement.
Eleventh-hour agreements were signed yesterday with the centrist Yesh Atid and far-right Jewish Home parties, which held the key to building a government with a majority in the 120-seat parliament.
Netanyahu last month signed a coalition deal with the centrist HaTnuah party of former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, who is to be justice minister and Israel’s negotiator in talks with the Palestinians.
The new coalition, which will command a total of 68 seats in parliament, is expected to be sworn in on Monday.