Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Labor Votes To Join Israeli Coalition Government

The Labor Party just narrowly voted to agree to join the Israeli coalition government:

The Labor Party voted to join the Likud-led coalition government, virtually guaranteeing that Benjamin Netanyahu will be Israel's next prime minister.

Labor chief Ehud Barak's bid to join Netanyahu's coalition came down to a contentious vote Tuesday night by the party's central committee, with 680 in favor of joining and 570 against.

With Labor behind him, Netanyahu now has the 60-plus Knesset majority necessary to form a government and become prime minister. His other coalition partners include the Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas parties.

Barak argued that Labor joining the Likud-led coalition was best for the country and would not provide cover for a right-wing agenda.

"I am not afraid of Benjamin Netanyahu. We won't be anyone's fig leaf or anyone's third wheel," Barak told the central committee. "We will act as an opposing force that will ensure there will not be a narrow right-wing government, but a real government that looks after the State of Israel."

The deal involves Ehud Barak continuing as defense minister, Likud agreeing to 'continue to work towards regional peace' and agreeing to honor previous Israeli government agreements.

Apparently National Union and UTJ were a bit too greedy with their demands and priced themselves out of the market.

That means that Avigdor Lieberman becomes foreign minister.

And that also means that Tzipi Livni and Kadima are out in the cold, which is a very good thing.Look for most of Kadima to migrate to Labor or to Likud.

Barak is capable of functioning competently as a defense minister provided there's some steel from Netanyahu calling the shots.

I'm very cautiously optimistic.

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