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Likud, Tsomet Parties to Form Joint List for Knesset Elections


The opposition Likud and Tsomet parties have agreed to form a joint list in the upcoming Knesset elections.

Under the agreement reached between them, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu would head the list, while Tsomet leader Rafael Eitan would be second.

One result of the agreement is that Eitan would remove himself from the candidacy for prime minister.

Israel Television reported that the agreement would be signed this week, following approval from the two parties’ central committees.

The announcement came amid reports that national elections, scheduled for October, might be moved up, most likely to mid-May.

Labor officials have cited May 21 or 28 as possible dates for the elections.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres has refused to commit to any of the dates, but has spoken in favor of early elections.

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, this week, Peres said the campaign had essentially begun, and bringing elections forward would eliminate a waste of money and time.

Nissim Zvilli, secretary general of the Labor Party, said that Peres wanted a new mandate from the Israeli people in light of the upcoming permanent status negotiations with the Palestinians that are slated to begin in May, and the current peace talks with Syria.

Peres, who has been leading Netanyahu in opinion polls, has promised to announce his decision by the middle of the month.

Nearly all political parties in the Knesset have come out in favor of early elections.

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