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Sharon quits Likud

Last updated: 2005-11-21

Ariel Sharon

Ariel Sharon

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has quit the Likud Party and will campaign separately in national elections which are now expected within 90 days.

The prime minister paid a visit to the residence of Israel's President Moshe Katsav, early Monday, to ask that the 16th Knesset be dissolved and early elections be called.

Mr Sharon helped found the Likud Party in the early 1970's on a platform of expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied territories. His moves to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank this year drew strong opposition from hard-liners in the party.

Mr Sharon was able to defeat the hard-liners with the help of the moderate Labor Party that joined the coalition government last year.

However, the new Labour Party leader, Amir Peretz, decided to quit the coalition - partly due to differences over economic policy.

Story supplied by: VOAnews