With Lieberman's exit, Netanyahu's new government has been left with a wafer-thin majority of 61 members in the 120-member parliament.
    
"Our dilemma was between principles or seats. I am happy that we decided to keep our principles and give up our seats," Lieberman told his Yisrael Beitenu party.
    
"I have decided to resign from my post as Foreign Minister," the ultra-nationalist controversial leader added. Lieberman said he could not sit in the government after Netanyahu struck a series of deals with ultra-Orthodox partners.
    
A bar bouncer once, Lieberman has been an important leader of the almost one million immigrants from the former Soviet Union region and played a king-maker in previous
government formations when his party did well in elections.
    
Yisrael Beteinu's political fortunes however plummeted in the last elections when it could win only six seats and lost the bargaining power to get its leader an influential ministry.
    
The new government "won't be a nationalist one, but the epitome of opportunism," the outgoing foreign minister said at a press conference at the Knesset (parliament) on Monday.
    
Netanyahu, he charged, was "without a doubt" intending to bring the center-left Zionist Union into the government while abandoning his right-wing allies Yisrael Beitenu and Bayit Hayehudi.

The coalition agreements already signed included an article, Article 5, that specified that the agreements could be changed if the coalition grew bigger than 70 Knesset seats.
    
"When you write 'expansion of the coalition beyond 70 mandates,'" Liberman said adding, "I assume you're not referring to the Joint (Arab) List or (left-wing) Meretz, but clearly the intent is to bring in the Labour Party," which leads the Zionist Union slate.
    
Political analysts here described the move as a "desperate step" to keep himself politically relevant. The right-wing bloc, which secured 67 seats in the March 17 elections led by Netanyahu's Likud party with 30 seats, has a lot of internal differences with the religious parties not seeing eye to eye with secular ones like Yisrael Beteinu on many issues surrounding mandatory national service and allocation of funds.
    
The complete right-wing bloc had expressed support for Netanyahu as Prime Minister when President Reuven Rivlin started to look for a leader to task him with the responsibility of government formation. Lieberman has served two terms as foreign minister and has been a key Netanyahu ally throughout the years.

 

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