Some interesting political poker is playing out in Israel.
Just as it looked like Israel was about to have early elections, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has formed a government of national unity with the left-wing Kadima opposition party.
The unity agreement came hours after the Israeli Parliament took the first steps toward dissolving itself ahead of elections scheduled for Sept. 4 rather than at the end of the government’s term in October 2013. With his coalition divided over how to replace a law expiring Aug. 1 that exempted many ultra-Orthodox Jews from military service, Mr. Netanyahu had said in a speech to the convention of his right-leaning Likud Party on Sunday night that he wanted early elections to avoid the instability of a campaign atmosphere stretching over more than a year.
But even as the political establishment here was kicking into high gear in recent days, leaders of the Likud and Kadima parties had been in secret negotiations that culminated at midnight Tuesday at the prime minister’s home in Jerusalem, where he and Mr. Mofaz signed a contract, according to Mr. Harel. The two men then went to the Parliament building around 2:30 a.m., where they met with lawmakers from their parties, who voted to approve the deal, officials said. A news conference was scheduled for noon in Jerusalem.
There are a lot of moving parts here.
Reuters points out that a broad coalition, which Netanyahu now enjoys, gives much more flexibility on Iran decisions.
The move also isolates the labour party, which was likely to make gains in coming elections.
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