Israel: Early Election Likely

Good news from our only real ally in the Middle East:

Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party refused to join a coalition government Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is seeking to assemble, increasing the chance of a general election in early 2009.

“It has been decided not to join the government,” Roi Lachmanovich, a spokesman for Shas leader Eli Yishai, said in a telephone interview today. “The decision is final.”

The rebuff came after Livni late yesterday said she’ll announce on Oct. 26 whether she expects to form a government and take over as prime minister or ask President Shimon Peres to call early elections. Shas’s 12 seats in the 120-person parliament could give her the support she needs for a majority.

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