Israeli President Shimon Peres has officially handed Tzipi Livni the job of forming a new government. The task will not be an easy one. Livni has around a month to form a ruling coalition.
Aware of the mountain she has to climb, Livni called on opposition Likud party leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, to join her: “I’m calling on the parties to join a government headed by myself,’‘ said Livni. ‘‘I also call on the leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, to join a unity government in order to deal with the urgent issues,”
Failure to form a government would almost certainly trigger new elections, which right-wing party chief Netanyahu’s Likud party is well-placed to win. Refusing to be drawn on whether he will join Livni, the ex-Israeli prime minister could look elsewhere to form a coalition himself.
And, an unlikely team between Netanyahu and another former prime minister, and current Defence Minister, Ehud Barrack remains a possibility.
Livni, dubbed Mrs Clean by supporters, narrowly won last week’s election to replace Ehud Olmert as head of the ruling Kadima party. Olmert was forced to resign amid corruption allegations.