PM, Mofaz present details of unity deal

Netanyahu, opposition leader strike deal that will draw Kadima into 94-seat coalition, cancel elections; Kadima, Likud factions approve agreement; Kadima tasked with leading c'tee on alternative Tal Law.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF
May 8, 2012 12:24
1 minute read.
The Knesset

The Knesset 390 (R). (photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima head Shaul Mofaz convened at a noon press conference Tuesday to present details of their unity deal. The deal, reached overnight,  will form a 94-seat coalition, the largest coalition in Israel's history, and would postpone early elections.

Following the conference, Netanyahu and Mofaz will present the deal to the Knesset, which is expected to approve it within 48 hours.

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The Likud and Kadima factions began emergency meetings after 2:00 a.m. to discuss developments, eventually approving the deal that will bring Netanyahu's government more political stability.

"We got important things," a Mofaz associate said. "If we wanted portfolios, we would have gotten them."

The deal passed unanimously in the Kadima faction.

Netanyahu - who arrived at the Likud meeting along with his former chief of staff Natan Eshel - told the Likud faction that contact with Mofaz over forming a unity government began a few days ago and bore fruit. Eshel apparently played a role in brokering the deal.

The agreement stipulates that Kadima will not topple the government until the official end of its term on October 22, 2013. Mofaz - who replaced Tzipi Livni just last month as the Kadima party head - will also become vice premier, and will fill in for the prime minister when he is abroad. Kadima's inclusion will bring the coalition to 94 seats.



Kadima will lead a committee that will work towards approving an alternative to the Tal Law - which allows ultra-Orthodox men to indefinitely defer army service - by the August 1 deadline. In addition, the party will also work towards changing the government system by the end of the year.

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