amir peretz 88.
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Although Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and coalition chairman Gideon Sa'ar announced they would postpone the vote on the 2006 state budget until they could make allocations for the war on poverty, the move left many feeling that the government was avoiding opening deliberations on a budget that cannot garner a majority.
If newly elected Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz leaves the coalition as he has suggested, the government will lose its majority. Without Labor's backing, the government's budget proposal would receive support from 45 MKs - 40 from the Likud, including the rebels, and five from United Torah Judaism.
Sharon has asked the Knesset to hold its initial vote on the budget at the end of November, but with daily calls to dissolve the Knesset, it appears unlikely that those deliberations will open.
The most likely scenario, said a Knesset spokesman, would see a temporary budget being adopted for the first three months of 2006, while elections determine a new government. That government would then be pressed to pass a 2006 budget as quickly as possible.
In case the Knesset does stay in session, it would have until March 31 to approve a 2006 budget. If the Knesset does not approve a budget by that date, it would be dissolved and elections called.
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