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PERES FORMS ISRAELI COALITION - MAYBE

SHARE PERES FORMS ISRAELI COALITION - MAYBE

Shimon Peres says he has put together a parliamentary majority for a new government, opening the way for Israel's first left-dominated governing coalition in 13 years.

Peres on Wednesday night asked Parliament to convene and approve his new Cabinet on Sunday, saying a major goal of his coalition would be pursuing U.S.-backed efforts to open Israeli-Palestinian talks. He refused to say how he had broken a 60-60 deadlock with the right-wing Likud bloc of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in the 120-member legislature."I have a majority and I hope to enlarge it," Peres said on Israel radio. The Labor Party leader justified the mystery by saying it was necessary to crucial negotiations still under way to bring other small parties into the government.

Likud leaders immediately cast doubt on Peres' claim of a majority, meaning the war of nerves in which Likud tries to block the Labor government will go on until a vote in Parliament.

"We can paint the opposite picture," said Transport Minister Moshe Katsav, insisting Likud still had 60 votes. Katsav said Peres was "exerting psychological pressure" to win over wavering legislators.