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February 19, 2013 12:52 pm

Livini is First to Join Netanyahu Coalition, Will be Next Justice Minister

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Tzipi Livni asks 'what's wrong with liking sweets so much?'. Photo: World Economic Forum.

In the shifting world of Israeli coalition politics, Tzipi Livni, a longtime foe of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to become the first party leader to join Netanyahu’s coalition, Ynet reported.

Livni, a former foreign minister and opposition leader in the centrist Kadima Party, is now the head of the center-left Hatnua Party, which won only six seats in last month’s election. As part of the coalition deal, she will serve as justice minister and will also head any future negotiations with the Palestinians. Livni will also serve in Netanyahu’s inner cabinet.

The deal with Hatnua comes amid a breakdown in negotiations with Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid Party, which gained the second most seats at 18, and Naftali Bennett’s far-right HaBayit HaYehudi Party, which won 13 seats. Lapid and Bennett have reportedly formed a political pact to only join Netanyahu’s coalition together if the prime minister agrees to concessions on drafting ultra-Orthodox into the IDF. Netanyahu has relied on the support of the ultra-Orthodox parties for his two previous terms as prime minister.

Netanyahu has less than two weeks left to form a government.

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