Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says he will try to form a governing coalition with the opposition Labor Party.
Mr. Sharon was speaking a day after dismissing his main coalition partner, the Shinui Party, over its opposition to the 2005 state budget. The move left Mr. Sharon in control of only 40 of the 120 seats in parliament.
Mr. Sharon said he intends to press ahead with plans to withdraw from the Gaza Strip next year, a plan that could run into trouble if he is forced to call early national elections.
He also said Palestinian militant Marwan Barghouti will remain in jail despite his plans to run in the Palestinian Authority presidential election on January 9.
Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.