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Archive for Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rivals share tough line on Hamas, Iran

February 12, 2009

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— Israel’s new coalition government — whether led by hard-line Benjamin Netanyahu or his moderate rival Tzipi Livni — is likely to take a tough line on two burning issues: Hamas and Iran.

As the two began courting potential coalition partners Wednesday, two scenarios took shape: a narrow alliance of hawks who would stall peacemaking with the Palestinians, or a broad power-sharing government that would give Israel a more moderate face and greater international support.

With only a few thousand votes by soldiers still to be counted, Livni’s Kadima Party had one more seat in parliament than Netanyahu’s Likud. But Netanyahu’s natural allies on the right have a clear majority of 65 in the 120-seat parliament, giving him the edge in forming a coalition.

President Shimon Peres will consult all 12 parties in the new parliament next week before choosing either Netanyahu or Livni to try to form a government — a process likely to take weeks if not months.

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