Israeli Right-Wing Forms United Front to Discuss Emergency Government
Israel's right-wing and religious parties have formed a united front to negotiate with Prime Minister Ehud Barak formation of an emergency government to deal with the explosion of violence in the Palestinian territories, party officials said Thursday.
"The opposition parties in this forum have agreed to pursue contacts with the prime minister on the formation of a national emergency government," Likud MP Reuven Rivlin told Israeli radio.
"This government should have the ability to take decisions with the general agreement of the parties, but we must also reach an understanding on the fact that new elections should take place if there is discord," Rivlin said after a meeting of the parties at the office of Likud leader Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv.
Barak is trying to woo Sharon into a national emergency government and stave off the specter of early elections following a month of deadly unrest that has led to the virtual collapse of the peace process.
Without a majority in parliament since July, Barak is scrambling to form a broad government before parliament returns on Monday.
But negotiations have faltered over Sharon's demands for a veto over key peace and security policies. The situation is further clouded by the likely political comeback of former Likud prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu went on Israeli radio Tuesday to argue against any long-term involvement in a unity government, backing only short-term support until early elections.
Barak is due at a Labour party meeting later Thursday to make his positions clear on Sharon's demands.
Rivlin did not spell out what parties are included in the group, but said that it did not include the far-right National Union and Israel Beitenu parties, which have called for a censure motion against Barak when parliament returns – JERUSALEM (AFP)
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