JERUSALEM, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israel's prime minister and foreign minister on Thursday evening announced that their parties will run on a united list in January's elections.
Likud chief, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Yisrael Beiteinu head, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, told reporters in Jerusalem that the move still awaits the final authorization by Likud at its upcoming convention.
"At this time, Israel needs this joining of forces," Netanyahu said.
"This union would give us strength to lead Israel for the upcoming years and defend it against the external threats we're facing from Iran, as well as the internal issues like the cost of living and other socioeconomic topics," according to the prime minister.
"Our first priority would be to bring down the costs of living, " Netanyahu said.
For his part, Lieberman said election reforms topped his agenda, a goal he has been promoting for a while.
Political analysts assumed that the move came in response to a recent drop in the polls for Likud, at the same time the center- left bloc is attracting a bevy of new candidates to their lists.
If the move is finalized, it will have far-reaching implications on the makeup of the next government, and might drive out the ultra-orthodox, who oppose the secular platform of Lieberman's party, according to the analysts.
The two have a long history together. Lieberman started working with Netanyahu in the 1990s, serving as the Likud's director- general under Netanyahu, who was the chairman of the party between 1993 and 1996, and later serving in the same role for Netanyahu during his previous tenure as prime minister from 1996 to 1997.
The move may trigger resentment among other Likud captains like Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who are both vying for the top roles on the party list.
Commenting on the Netanyahu-Lieberman ticket, a senior government official told the Ha'aretz daily, "We're repulsed by this partnership with Lieberman. I don't want to run with a person like Lieberman and the kind of values he stands for."
Lieberman is famed for his hardline approach. His party is also in charge of the loyalty-citizenship bill, according to which each citizen will be forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the state, an idea that drew heavy criticism from both home and abroad.
The elections were set in October 2013, but were moved up to Jan. 22 because Netanyahu failed to gather a majority and pass the 2013 budget, which includes 14 billion shekels (about 3.68 billion U.S. dollars) in the ministry spending.