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Israel: Lapid, Lieberman reach deal to form coalition

Yair Lapid during the final stage of Blue and White election campaign in Tel Aviv, Israel, 15 September 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]
Yair Lapid during the final stage of Blue and White election campaign in Tel Aviv, 15 September 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

Israel's Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, who has been tasked with forming a government, on Monday signed his first coalition agreement with Yisrael Beiteinu party led by Avigdor Lieberman, local media reported.

The two parties said in a joint statement that the agreement grants Lieberman the post of finance minister should Lapid succeed in forming a government.

Yisrael Beiteinu will also receive the Negev and Galilee Development Ministry and a third, as yet unknown, cabinet post.

Meanwhile, New Hope leader, Gideon Sa'ar, who is scheduled to meet with Lapid later this week to discuss the formation of the next government is reported to have told Lapid that he will not join any coalition that does not include the New Right party, led by Naftali Bennett.

Israel's Channel 11 reported that Sa'ar strongly opposes joining a government that includes the Arab dominated Joint List bloc, but would sit down with the United Arab List headed by Mansour Abbas.

READ: Lieberman criticises Israeli air strikes for having no 'strategic goal'

According to the channel, Sa'ar stressed that he would not submit to pressure to join a government headed by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Earlier on Monday, Lapid vowed to "turn over every rock in order to form a government," but acknowledged it would be a difficult task.

If Lapid fails to form a government, the mandate will pass to the entire Knesset, which will have 21 days to try to form a coalition or be forced by law to call a fifth election.

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IsraelIsraeli ElectionsMiddle EastNewsPalestine
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