Liberman: Yisrael Beiteinu party to sit in opposition


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Avigdor Liberman said his Yisrael Beiteinu party would not join the new government coalition and he was resigning as foreign minister.

Liberman, who heads the right-wing party, said in an announcement on Monday that he would submit a letter of resignation later in the day and that Yisrael Beiteinu would enter the opposition.

Liberman’s party garnered six Knesset seats in March’s election. In the January 2013 election, Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, ran on a joint ticket and won 31 seats, leading all parties.

Liberman charged in a news conference that Netanyahu plans to open up the government to the left-wing Zionist Union and form a national unity government. He also said that the new government “has no intention of building housing, neither in major settlement blocs nor in Jerusalem.”

Netanyahu has less than three days left to form a new government coalition. He already has signed agreements with the centrist Kulanu led by former Likud lawmaker Moshe Kahlon, as well as Orthodox United Torah Judaism for a total of 46 Knesset seats. A minimum 61 seats is required to form a government.

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