Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sharon Hangs on after Sacking Rebel Ministers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sharon Hangs on after Sacking Rebel Ministers

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN ADAMSON

ISRAELI prime minister Ariel Sharon's government was in crisis today after he fired four cabinet ministers and five deputy ministers who helped topple an emergency economic package.

The dismissals go into effect tomorrow and shrink the broad-based coalition he has tried to maintain from 82 members in the 120-seat Knesset to 60.

The opposition needs one more vote to oust him and order new elections. Mr Sharon's economic proposals - which were meant to help cover the expenses of the recent military offensive in the West Bank - would have cut welfare spending and increased taxes, but were rejected in the vote.

The sacked ministers and deputy ministers belong to the ultra- Orthodox Shas and Yahadut Hatorah (United Torah Judaism) parties.

The dismissal of the ministers leaves Mr Sharon dependent on the Left-of-centre Labour party to maintain his government. Meanwhile, a Spanish transport plane is expected to arrive in Cyprus tomorrow to carry Palestinian men described by Israel as its "most wanted men" to a variety of new homes across Europe. …

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