Netanyahu coalition deal halts Israeli election plans | News | DW | 08.05.2012
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Netanyahu coalition deal halts Israeli election plans

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has struck a coalition deal with the opposition Kadima party, just days after calling an early election. Parliament has now postponed an imminent vote on dissolution.

An early election in Israel was cancelled on Tuesday after Prime Minister Netanyahu struck a surprise deal to form a new coalition government with the opposition centrist Kadima party, officials said.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz apparently agreed to unite with Netanyahu's conservative Likud party, and both parties had signed off on the deal.

The Knesset, Israel's parliament, had been holding marathon talks into the night, which were expected to culminate in a vote for dissolution when the reports emerged.

Prime Minister Netanyahu had called the snap election on Sunday, saying he wanted to avoid a year and a half of political instability. Earlier on Monday he told parliament he wanted the vote to be held as soon as September 4.

Coalition stipulations

The full details of the coalition deal are not clear, although it is said to stipulate that Mofaz will serve as deputy premier and minister without portfolio.

The deal reportedly also includes an agreement whereby Kadima would back Netanyahu in return for changes to a controversial law that allows ultra-Orthodox Jews to defer their military service.

The contentious law had threatened to unravel the governing coalition of religious and nationalist parties and was believed to have been a primary reason for Netanyahu bringing forward the election date.

The next scheduled general election is set for October 2013.

ccp/jm (AFP, Reuters, AP)