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Israeli parliament confirms Netanyahu's new government

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Jerusalem: The Israeli parliament has approved a right-wing government formed by incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his Likud party won an early election nearly two months ago, media reported on Friday.

The 20-member cabinet, whose lineup was finalized not long before the vote, is to be sworn in soon after it won the parliament's confirmation in a vote of 61 to 59, Xinhua news agency reported.

There had been tough haggling over the allocation of cabinet posts between the Likud and its four coalition partners, and among prominent Likud figures.

The presentation of the new cabinet to parliament, supposed to take place early Thursday night, was delayed due to last-minute disagreements over ministerial appointments within the Likud.

Two prominent Likud members, Gilad Erdan and Silvan Shalom, were vying for the post of foreign minister, but their requests were rejected by Netanyahu, according to media reports.

In the new cabinet, Netanyahu holds concurrently the foreign ministry portfolio, and Moshe Ya'alon of the Likud kept his position as defence minister and Moshe Kahlon, leader of the center Kulanu party, was appointed finance minister.

There have been speculations that Netanyahu chose to keep the top diplomatic post vacant for the time being in order to invite opposition leader Issac Herzog into the ruling coalition in the future.

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