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Netanyahu's coalition headache

Even before negotiations have started, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must struggle with his future right-wing coalition partners, a situation which might encourage him to further explore the possibility of a unity government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) receives a folder from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during a ceremony  in Jerusalem March 25, 2015. Netanyahu, grappling with fierce White House disapproval, won consent from Israel's president on Wednesday to try to form a new coalition government. REUTERS/Ammar Awad  - RTR4UVGJ
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It was a chilly, reserved reception at the President’s House on March 25, when Israeli President Reuven Rivlin charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the task of forming a new government. It was a sign that the coalition negotiations were getting off on the wrong foot.

There was nothing festive about the ceremony. Netanyahu was simply granted the task again, making it the fourth time in his career. Rivlin’s body language relayed the sense that he would much rather have given the job to someone else. But it wasn’t only the president, who looked worried. The prime minister himself seems to show that despite his sweeping victory in the polls — probably by much more than he could have imagined — this new term brought with it all the same old problems of cobbling a coalition together. In fact, Netanyahu finds himself without a clear agenda as he heads toward a right-wing coalition with the ultra-Orthodox. And the task of forming that coalition appears to be a complicated one.

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