Final Agreement Reached Between Netanyahu, Kahlon

Senior political sources say Kulanu party set to take up senior ministries, including finance and housing, in next government.

Yedidya Ben-Or ,

Moshe Kahlon and Binyamin Netanyahu (file)
Moshe Kahlon and Binyamin Netanyahu (file)
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Kulanu party head Moshe Kahlon have sealed a final agreement for Kulanu to join the next Likud-led government, according to senior political sources.

According to the sources, under the agreement Kahlon's party will receive the Finance, Housing and Construction, and Environmental Protection ministries.

The agreement and all its details have been agreed upon by both sides, the sources said, but Netanyahu and Kahlon are waiting until after Independence Day (which takes place Thursday) to officially sign and announce the deal.

In contrast, negotiations between Netanyahu and his other potential partners in the next government have not yet reached their conclusion. However, sources close to the prime minister say they expect agreements to be reached with those parties - namely Yisrael Beytenu, Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism and Shas - in the coming days.

With 10 seats, Kahlon's new party is the largest of the factions Netanyahu had been negotiating with to enter his government. Kulanu officials will likely be pleased with the outcome, having secured the key ministries it needs to fulfill its election pledges to lower the cost of living for ordinary Israelis.

Negotiations with Netanyahu's "natural partners" - nationalist parties Jewish Home and Yisrael Beytenu, and haredi parties UTJ and Shas - have been somewhat more hard-going, with all four parties demanding senior ministries - and often the same ones.

On Monday, Netanyahu was forced to turn to President Reuven Rivlin to ask for an extra 14 days to finalize his coalition, as he is entitled to do by law. If he does not manage to do so at the end of that two-week period, the president could in theory ask another party to attempt to form a government, or even call fresh elections. That, however, is unlikely to happen.




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