Peres to Summon Livni, Netanyahu; Lieberman Backs Bibi for PM


persPresident Shimon Peres is expected to summon Likud Chairman Binyomin Netanyahu and Kadima head Tzipi Livni for private meetings as early as tomorrow. In the meetings, Peres is expected to stress to the two party leaders the need for the formation of a broad unity government. In recent days, sources from the President’s Residence said a final decision by the president on who to task with the formation of the government would take longer to reach, due to the complexity of the situation.However, after Netanyahu’s Likud party received a majority of 65 supporters, it seems the decision could be made before the weekend.

Receiving the support of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party brought Netanyahu one step closer to heading the next government.

Lieberman made it clear to the president that he opposes a power-sharing rotation government, and demanded a broad government be established. “A government made of six parties with 65 mandates will be a survival government. This is not a government that will be able to make serious moves. And therefore we tell the members of the Likud to start thinking differently. Netanyahu will be prime minister, but this will be both Netanyahu and Livni’s government, and Tzipi must get used to the idea that rotation (sharing of power) is not an option,” he said.

After Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas representatives arrived at the President’s Residence and also recommended Netanyahu for prime minister. “It is regretful that there have been attempts to disqualify other parties as in darker days.

“We can form a government that includes Likud, Shas, Kadima and Labor. This is a blessed option for a stable and effective government,” said Shas head Eli Yishai.

Shas sources plan on entering the coalition at any cost, and have said they do not appreciate attempts by Lieberman to impose a government that does not include their party.

In response to a question on whether the party would be wiling to compromise on the matter of civil marriage in order to enter the coalition, Yishai said, “There is the Torah of Israel, and the principles of halacha, and we must not stray from the halacha.

“We survived for thousands of years in the Diaspora, only thanks to the Jewish halacha and the Torah of Israel. Without these, we would have been assimilated and disappeared.”

Sources from the party said they would work towards the establishment of a broad government based on rightist parties. “Even before the elections we made our point clear, the people have elected the right and we have recommended the formation of a broad government based on the nationalistic camp, and fast,” Yishai said.

The party chairman called on the rest of the parties to enter coalitional talks as soon as possible.

Another Shas source said, “Lieberman has not yet internalized that the election campaign is over. We are now faced with complex issues that must be dealt with, and it’s too late to add mandates.”

Earlier today, Meretz members also visited the President’s Residence, and told Peres they would not recommend anyone to head the next government.

Labor Chairman Ehud Barak, whose representatives are scheduled to meet with Peres this evening, announced this morning that his party would not recommend anyone for prime minister.

“The picture is complicated and worrisome when Yisrael Beiteinu will be the one to crown a prime minister in Israel,” said Barak in a Labor faction meeting in the party’s headquarters in Tel Aviv just hours before his meeting at the president’s residence.

{Yair Israel/Ynet}