Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni faces an increasingly uphill struggle to form the country’s next coalition government. Recently elected Kadima party leader is trying to form a coalition government. While securing support from the powerful Labour party, Livni is failing to win over ultra-orthodox party Shas.
Without Shas, Livni will struggle to get the majority she needs. Both parties remain divided over social welfare benefits and the guaranteed status of Jerusalem. The division of Jerusalem remains a key issue in peace talks with the Palestinians, which Livni’s Kadima party has pledged to continue.
The deadlock between the two, means Olmert, who resigned as Prime Minister after a corruption scandal, will continue as caretaker until a viable coalition is forged or new national elections are held, which looks increasingly likely. The prospect of an early election will be welcome news for Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud which leads in the polls.