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Israel's ruling Likud backed by party with 4 crucial seats

Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's ruling bloc received the support of a small party with four crucial parliamentary seats, as both his Likud and the opposition Labor Party jockeyed for backing to form a new government.

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Shimon Peres's Labor Party, which barely won the most votes in last week's election, remained hopeful of leading Israel's next government, despite Likud's endorsement by Shas, a party representing religious Jews from Middle Eastern countries. Shas's four seats gave Likud an expected 52 seats, compared with 50 firmly behind Labor in the 120-member parliament.

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