Israel Labor Party Takes Part in Netanyahu-led Coalition

World | March 25, 2009, Wednesday // 09:34|  views

At a Labor Party convention delegates voted Tuesday to back Ehud Barak and join the Netanyahu-led coalition. Photo by BGNES

Israel Labor Party chairman, Ehud Barak, succeeded Tuesday in bringing his party into Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.

At a party convention delegates voted Tuesday to back Barak and join the coalition, despite bitter internal opposition, Haaretz Newspaper reported. Several Labor party members who opposed Barak's move could still vote against the new government, set to be sworn in on Monday, the newspaper added.

"A unity government will bring stability, and that is the right thing for the country... The big winners are Israel's citizens", the Likud party chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu, said.

Netanyahy added that his government will be a "partner for peace" with the Palestinians.

The Likud leader pledged to work for peace, security and "rapid development of the Palestinian economy".

"Bibi paid Labor a corrupt price. He simply sold everything in exchange for half a faction," Israel officials said, using Netanyahu's nickname. The Trade, Labor and Industry portfolio, which was originally slated to be given to a Likud member, was promised to Labor under the coalition deal.

The convention empowered Barak, who will continue as defense minister in the new government, to appoint the party's ministers and deputy ministers in the new coalition as he sees fit.

Kadima party quickly decried Labor's move, saying that Labor's entry into a Likud-led coalition signified ideological bankruptcy.

Likud is set to meet on Wednesday with National Union's negotiating team. The Union is waiting Netanyahu's offer after its clear that the Agriculture Ministry will be given to Labor's Shalom Simhon. Likud and National Union also have not yet agreed on a common stand on the Palestinian state issue.



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Tags: Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud, Kadima, Ehud Barak


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