Israel's opposition Labor Party is due to meet later Saturday to decide whether to join the ruling Likud Party in a coalition government.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon invited the Labor Party to join his government Friday, after his Likud party approved a move to reshape his ruling coalition.

Two religious parties were also asked to join the government. Negotiations among the parties are expected to begin early next week.

Political observers say broadening the government will ease pressure on Mr. Sharon to call new elections, and bolster his plans to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank by next year.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.