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Israel's Olmert forges coalition government

Written by: Staff
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JERUSALEM, Apr 30 (Reuters) Israel's acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert won enough partners for a coalition government today after a key faction said it agreed to join.

Shas, an ultra-religious Jewish party, had drafted a coalition deal with Olmert's centrist Kadima. Shas's ruling rabbis approved the deal at a late-night meeting, a party spokesman said.

With Shas on board, Olmert controls 67 of parliament's 120 seats -- a majority crucial to pushing through a plan to withdraw from isolated Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank in the absence of peace talks with the Palestinians.

REUTERS DKS RK0130

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