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Last Updated: Monday, 1 May 2006, 12:31 GMT 13:31 UK
Olmert appoints Israeli cabinet
Acting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert
Olmert has promised to form a government as soon as possible
Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced a series of key cabinet appointments, after his Kadima party secured a parliamentary majority.

Acting foreign minister Tzipi Livni was named vice-PM and foreign minister.

Mr Olmert's Kadima party won a March election, but did not win enough seats in parliament to rule alone.

Last night Israel's ultra-religious Jewish party, Shas, voted to join with Mr Olmert's government, giving him a workable coalition.

With the Shas on board, Mr Olmert now controls 67 of parliament's 120 seats.

But the deal came only after Mr Olmert agreed they would not be obliged to back the evacuation of West Bank settlements, Haaretz newspaper reported.

Mr Olmert has made clear his determination to dismantle isolated Jewish settlements in the West Bank and set permanent borders for Israel by 2010.

COALITION (revised 30 April)
Kadima: 29 seats, centrist
Labour: 19 seats, centre-left
Pensioners: 7 seats, single-issue
Shas: 12 seats, ultra-Orthodox
Possible partners:
Torah Judaism: 6 seats, ultra-Orthodox
Meretz: 5 seats, left-wing

His cabinet looks set to be dominated by members of Kadima.

Former premier Shimon Peres will take charge of a new department dealing with development of the Negev and Galilee regions.

Outgoing Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz will become transport minister and one of a number of deputy prime ministers, while Abraham Hirshson, the current tourism minister, is to take over finance.

Monday's announcements only covered members of Kadima, but reports say the defence portfolio will be in the hands of Amir Peretz, leader of the centre-left Labour party which came runners-up in the 28 March general election.

Mr Peretz is one of seven Labour ministers in the new government which will be presented to parliament for MPs' approval on Thursday.

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