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Israeli PM Netanyahu forms last-minute coalition government

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday struck an 11th-hour deal to form a new coalition government, barely beating a midnight deadline to do so.

Nearly two months after winning re-election to a fourth term, Netanyahu announced around 11 p.m. he had cobbled together at least the 61 seats necessary in parliament to form a new government after securing the support of the nationalist Jewish Home party. "Israel now has a government," Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home's leader, said after meeting with members of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party.

Netanyahu came from behind to win a tight election in March, and the thin margin of victory complicated the process of forming a new government.