The rightist Likud party of Israeli prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday concluded a first coalition agreement with the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, a Likud spokeswoman said.
“An agreement on government has been signed between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu,” Likud spokeswoman Miri Reihman told journalists after negotiations that lasted several hours.
Under the accord the far-right party will get the foreign ministry, with the portfolio going to Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, Reihman said. It would also be put in charge of the ministries of internal security, infrastructure, tourism, and integration of new immigrants.
The agreement was the first to be reached by Netanyahu since he was asked to form the next government.
Netanyahu is widely believed to want a broad-based coalition but looks likely to form a narrow right-wing cabinet after the centrist Kadima party and the centre-left Labour refused to join his cabinet.
Bibi, as Netanyahu is widely known in Israel, was tasked with forming the government even though Likud secured one seat less than Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party in the election.
He can now theoretically count on the support of 27 Likud MPs, 15 from Yisrael Beitenu, 11 from Shas and five from United Torah Judaism, another ultra-Orthodox party.