posted on Nov, 8 2004 @ 05:34 PM
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government may take another blow if the pro settlement National Religious Party pulls out of his coalition
government. If the group moves out of the government, Sharon would lose a majority needed to win no confidence votes.
JERUSALEM - A pro-settlement party said Monday it planned to quit Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's coalition government over his plan to pull
out of the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, further eroding his hold on power.
The National Religious Party is expected to leave the coalition Tuesday, when its minister, Zevulun Orlev, is to present his resignation unless Sharon
agrees to a referendum on the pullout by then.
Orlev said he hopes the NRP's move will bring down the government.
"We've gotten to the point where we believe that our departure will bring about early elections," he told Channel Two TV.
Sharon already lost his parliamentary majority in June, when he ejected another pro-settlement party from his coalition to secure a Cabinet majority
for his withdrawal plan.
The National Religious Party has six seats in the 120-member parliament. Two of its members were already voting with the opposition to protest
Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Gaza settlements and four small ones in the West Bank.
The party's decision Monday means its remaining four members will withdraw their support for Sharon. He will be forced to govern with a minority of 55
seats — making the coalition more vulnerable to no-confidence votes.
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Should such a vote win, the government would collapse. Sharon now depends on his major opposition party, Labor, to stay in power. Should the
government fall, the plan to withdrawal settlements from Gaza would collapse and have to reconsidered by a new government.