Netanyahu leads Israeli coalition talks

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Netanyahu leads Israeli coalition talks

Netanyahu leads Israeli coalition talks
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Coalition talks are underway in Israel, after a general election produced deadlock between the right-wing and centre-left blocs.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud remains the largest party grouping in parliament.

But its base has been eroded by newly-formed centrist party Yesh Atid – which means ‘There is a Future’ – led by former television presenter Yair Lapid.

The party, only formed last year, stunned observers by securing second place.

Lapid has said he will only participate in a government committed to reviving peace talks with the Palestinians.

David Ricci, Professor of Political Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said: “We do not think that Lapid is going to make trouble for Netanyahu in the area of foreign policy, because I think everyone assumes that some kind of negotiations will open.”

But overcoming political divisions at home will be no easy task.

Shelly Yachimovich of the Labour Party, which came third, says she does not want to be part of a coalition led by Netanyahu.

And the biggest upset was for nationalist leader Naftali Bennet, who was tipped for great success before Lapid stole the show.

Analysts predict weeks of horse-trading before a new cabinet is formed.