Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon kept his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip on track on Thursday), when his Likud Party voted in favor of asking the opposition Labor Party to join its shaky coalition.
The rightist Likud Party voted 62 to 38-percent to begin negotiations with the dovish Labor Party -- a move that will also avert snap elections.
Labor Party leader Shimon Peres has expressed interest in joining the coalition government.
Likud banned Mr. Sharon from talks with Labor in August. But members of the ruling party reversed position last month after Mr. Sharon fired the moderate Shinui party from his government -- leaving Likud with 40 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.
The Labor Party's integration into a coalition government could clear the way for Mr. Sharon's plan to evacuate all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank by next year.