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Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu says he has secured deal to form new govt

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JERUSALEM: Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Wednesday he had secured a deal to form a new government after weeks of unexpectedly tough negotiations with religious and far-right coalition partners.

“I have managed (to form a government),” Netanyahu said on Twitter, minutes before a midnight deadline set by President Isaac Herzog. A Herzog spokesperson confirmed that Netanyahu’s statement had been received.

Netanyahu’s conservative Likud and like-minded religious-nationalist parties close to the ultra-Orthodox and West Bank settler communities won a comfortable majority in a Nov 1 election, promising him 64 of parliament’s 120 seats.

But agreement to form a government was held up by disputes over a package of proposed legislation on issues ranging from planning authority in the West Bank to ministerial control over the police.

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