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Will seek broad and stable coalition: Israeli PM

Will seek broad and stable coalition: Israeli PM

Jerusalem: Following a pyrrhic victory, Israel's hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday said that he would seek a "broad and stable" coalition to deal with Iran's nuclear ambitions and the possibility of Syrian weapons of mass destructions falling into wrong hands.

"The entire region is raging and we must be prepared, strong, and determined in the face of any possible development", Netanyahu said at the start of weekly cabinet meeting hinting at Iran's nuclear programme, the turmoil in Syria and the Arab spring.
"That is why I will strive to form a government as broad and stable as possible, to deal with all the significant security threats facing Israel," the Israeli Premier said. Netanyahu is expected to be formally invited by the Israeli President Shimon Peres later this week after the election results are officially declared to cobble a coalition as the leader of the single largest party.

The joint Likud-Beteinyu bloc won 31 seats in January 22 elections, far less than the 42 they together had in the previous Kneaset (Israeli parliament).

The stunning poll results also saw the right wing bloc humbled, managing only 61 seats together, far less than pre-poll predictions.

With reports emerging that Netanyahu doesn't want to include Naftali Bennet, who has served as an adviser to him in the past, in his coalition, he will be left with no choice but to form a more centrist coalition.

On the occasion of International Holocaust Day being marked Sunday to commemorate the memory of 6 million Jews who perished in Nazi onslaught, Netanyahu accused Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of preparing for the next Holocaust by trying to destroy the Jewish state.

Ahmedinajad has in the past denied the occurence of Holocaust and has also called for wiping out the Jewish state from the world map.

"They are not stopping their incessant and systematic race to obtain nuclear weapons to reach that end," he said.

"We do not take those threats lightly, and will prevent them, this is our first priority as a government and people," Netanyahu reiterated.

The ruling Likud's election campaign had centered around the security issue, especially threat posed by a nuclear Iran, but it failed to resonate with the voters.

According to local media reports, Netanyahu last Wednesday convened an emergency discussion with the security establishment and his inner cabinet on the situation in Syria and the risk of it losing control over its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

Isarel's Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom has said that should Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas or rebels battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad obtain Syrian chemical weapons, "it would dramatically change the capabilities of those organisations."


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