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Backroom agreements bring coalition deal into question

May 9, 2012 17:13

Drama in the Knesset: MKs demand prime minister present any "oral agreements" that may have been made between Netanyahu, Mofaz over ministries; Rivlin delays vote on installing Mofaz as a minister.

Netanyahu looks up in Knesset

Netanyahu looks up in Knesset_370. (photo credit:Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The coalition deal struck between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz that would see the latter incorporated as a minister in the government was brought into question Wednesday when MKs demanded the prime minister present any backroom agreements.

Minutes before the Knesset was meant to vote on installing Mofaz as a minister in the new unity government, National Union MK Uri Ariel demanded that any other stipulations to the deal, that may have been reached orally, be clarified, including whether other ministries were offered to Kadima.

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Ariel asked Netanyahu if there was an "appendix" to the coalition agreement which offered Kadima ministerial positions.

In a letter he sent to Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, Ariel wrote "Unfortunately, there is a great fear that the coalition agreement between Kadima and Likud as it was submitted on the Knesset table does not reveal all the agreements and understandings concerning appointments that were promised to the [Kadima] faction."

Labor MK Isaac Herzog, speaking just after Ariel, demanded that the vote be postponed, asking the prime minister directly if any additional "oral agreements" had been made that were not included in the written deal.

Netanyahu said such items had been discussed, but nothing was signed, understanding that only written and signed agreements needed to be presented at the Knesset on Wednesday.

Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin suspended the vote, asking the prime minister and any relevant parties to present any such agreements.
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