Israel has taken a step towards forming a coalition government. The Prime Minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, has struck a provisional deal with the far-right party Yisrael Beitenu. Netanyahu’s Likud party emerged from elections last month in second place with 27 seats in the 120-seat parliament.
If the pact goes ahead, Yisrael Beitenu would bring a further 15 to an administration but that is still short of an overall majority. The leader Avigdor Lieberman would become deputy prime-minister and foreign minister. And that has raised some eyebrows – his rhetoric is seen by many as firmly anti-Arab.
Netanyahu needs more agreements for a parliamentary majority. The door is still open for the centrists to join in. Kadima won more seats than Likud in the election, and Tzipi Livni wants a share of the Prime Minister’s job before joining any government.