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Netanyahu Works to Avoid His Government's Collapse

• by Reuters

With political pundits predicting an early election in March, Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party, was to meet later in the day with his finance minister, who is leading a charge within the coalition toward a snap poll.

The minister, Moshe Kahlon of the center-right Kulanu party, will urge Netanyahu to set an election date promptly, Kulanu officials said.

Lieberman sets wheels in motion

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman's resignation, announced Wednesday over what he described as the government's lenient policy toward an upsurge of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, left the government with a majority of only one seat in parliament.

That put the fate of Netanyahu's coalition at the mercy of any of its partners, who have seen the four-term prime minister's popularity take a rare hit in an opinion poll that showed Israelis were unhappy with him over Gaza.

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