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ELECTION TALK FADES IN ISRAEL, PARTIES MAY UNITE?

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JERUSALEM. Israel - A vote in Israel's parliament that called for an early election was postponed on Tuesday and media reports indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had instead agreed to form a national unity government with the main opposition party.
Israel's parliament, called the Knesset, began a marathon discussion late on Monday that was expected to culminate in a vote to dissolve itself after Netanyahu had initially called for an early election to be held on September 4.
  • But after hours of deliberation, the Knesset announced early on Tuesday it would not hold a final vote for dissolution.
  • The Knesset also said in a statement that as the plenum was preparing to vote, Netanyahu's Likud party and the opposition Kadima party had "urgently met ... to discuss significant political developments, apparently talks for a national unity government."
  • The statement did not say when or if the vote would be reopened. Representatives for Likud and Kadima were not reachable for comment.
  • Israeli media reported that new Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz, fresh off a victory in an internal party election, had agreed to join Netanyahu's coalition government and that both parties had signed off on the surprise maneuver.
Even though it is in the opposition, centrist Kadima is the largest party in the Knesset and would offer Netanyahu's right-wing government more political stability.
The next national election is not due until October 2013, but new legislation that might force ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the military and an upcoming budget debate have threatened to unravel the governing coalition of religious and nationalist parties.
Source: Reuters
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