World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reached a deal for a governing coalition in which a new centrist party will serve as his main partner, a spokeswoman for his right-wing Likud party said on Thursday.
"There is a government," the spokeswoman, Noga Katz, said.
She said Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu list would be allied with centrist Yesh Atid led by political newcomer Yair Lapid and far-right Jewish Home, headed by high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett.
It will include a smaller centrist faction led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and control at least 68 seats in the 120-member parliament.
Coalition agreement signing ceremonies were expected later in the day, with a new government likely to take office next week before a visit by U.S. President Barack Obama.
Israel held a general election in January in which centrists made surprising gains at the expense of Netanyahu's conservative Likud-Beitenu party.
Netanyahu's traditional coalition allies, ultra-Orthodox parties now at odds with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home over social benefits and military draft exemptions for religious Jews, will not be in the new coalition.
The deals were reached just three days ahead of a March 16 deadline for Netanyahu to announce a new government.Last Mod: 14 Mart 2013, 18:02