Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon intends to submit the final lineup of his coalition to Knesset clerk Arye Hahn on Tuesday, in order to present his government for approval by his self-imposed deadline of Saturday night, reported The Jerusalem Post.
Sharon wants the government approved before Thursday night. Knesset regulations require the Likud to submit the coalition agreements it has signed to the Knesset clerk 24 hours before the vote, said the daily.
Sharon's Likud party won an additional four seats in parliament when he clinched the support of Nathan Sharansky's right-wing Russian immigrant party Israel B'Aliya, which will obtain the housing ministry and a vice-ministry, said AFP.
Although former foreign minister David Levy's Gesher party and the National Religious Party announced Monday they had refused to join the national unity government, the Likud leader had already won the support of Barak's Labour party, the powerful ultra-Orthodox Shas, and the far-right Russian immigrant party Israel Beiteinu.
Sharon has now secured secured 68 of the Knesset's 120 seats, and can expect to boost the total to almost 90 if he succeeds in forging more agreements. Sharon is expected to have 28 ministers in his cabinet.
Haaretz quoted NRP leader Yitzhak Levy as saying Tuesday that Sharon had planned from the outset to leave the religious right-wing party out of his national unity coalition.
Talking on Israel Radio, Levy said that Sharon “did not keep his word” in coalition negotiations. "Ariel Sharon didn’t want us in his government from the outset,” he said – Albawaba.com
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