Sharon Expects to Present New Government Wednesday

Published March 5th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon is almost certain to present his national unity government to the parliament for approval on Wednesday, a month after his landslide election victory, his spokesman said Monday. 

"There's every chance that he will present his government to the Knesset on Wednesday even if he has not formally concluded all the accords with the parties which will be part of the coalition," Raanan Gissin told AFP. 

He said Sharon could leave several portfolios vacant for those parties which have yet to sign accords to join a unity government. 

According to Haaretz, the coalition now includes 23 MKs from Labor, 19 from the Likud, 17 from Shas, 4 from Yisrael Beitenu and MK Dalia Rabin-Pelesof, daughter of slain premier Yitzhak Rabin, who is slated to become deputy defense minister.  

Also seen as likely to join the coalition are Dan Meridor and Roni Milo, MKs from the Center Party. But Meridor may have to resign from the Knesset in order to get the ministry Sharon wants to give him, said the paper. 

At least two current MKs will not be members of the next Knesset: Uri Savir and outgoing Tourism Minister Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, who said Sunday that they were leaving parliamentary politics.  

Savir is due to go back to the Peres Center for Peace, which he helped established, and Shahak, who turned down the chance to become defense minister, says he will probably go into business, Haaretz added.  

They are to be replaced by Nehama Ronen, who came into politics as a protege of Rafael Eitan, and former Likud MK David Magen. MK Yitzhak Mordechai, if acquitted of the sexual harassment and abuse charges he faces, would also likely join the coalition, but if he is convicted and forced to resign from the Knesset, he would be replaced by Yehiel Lasri, a former Likud activist – 





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