Livni Unable to Build Coalition, Israel Elections Likely in February


Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni informed President Shimon Peres on Sunday that she has been unable to form a coalition that would enable her to become Israel’s next prime minister.

Upon her election as chairwoman of the ruling Kadima party Sept. 17 in the party’s primaries, Livni, the Foreighn Minister and vice prime minister – began negotiations to form a coalition government. After more than five weeks of negotiations, she conceded that there was no possibility of doing so.

The Shas party, with 12 seats in the Knesset would have almost given her enough additional seats, but Shas demands not to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority over the status of Jerusalem and a child support requirement were deal breakers. [ YnetNews ]

Without the support of Shas, there was no point continuing negotiations, even though the deadline was set for November 3.

Peres has two more days to review the situation and inform the Knesset speaker of Livni’s inability to form a government. After that, any of the 120 Knesset members have three weeks to try to form a coalition, which must contain a minimum of 61 members, by Israeli law.

If a government is not formed within three weeks after Livni announces that she was unable to form a coalition, Peres will call for general elections, which are expected take place Feb. 17. Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will remain in office until a new coalition is formed following the new 2009 parliamentary elections. [ Haaretz ]

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