First coalition deal signed

Thursday, April 27, 2006 | 
The Pensioners Party became the first to sign a coalition agreement with Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima party. Gil Chairman Rafi Eitan (photo) will be appointed to the post of pensioners' minister. Olmert now has the support of 36 members of the Knesset. Kadima occupies 29 seats in the 120-seat parliament and Gil has seven. Meanwhile Labor party officials believe that a coalition deal with Kadima is likely to be finalized Thursday, while rightwing Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) appears likely to stay out of government. Difficulties persist in talks with religious parties as spiritual leaders gave Olmert an ultimatum, threatening to stay out of the coalition if the government does not promise to raise child allowances.

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