Israel’s outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called on right-wing leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government as quickly as possible.
As the Likud leader begins negotiations, Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni is being urged to reconsider her initial refusal to join a broad coalition. Shas party leader Eli Yishai said: “I am calling on the leaders and members of Kadima to come and join the negotiations and join a broad government.” However, one of the main problems is that Livni supports the formation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, while Netanyahu does not. Also, Livni has said she would want to share the role of prime minster. It remains to be seen whether Labour’s Ehud Barak will consider entering a coalition. It is still unclear if Netanyahu’s rivals will accept a grand coalition, and he may have no choice but to rule in parternership with far-right and ultra religious parties. Observers say that would tie his hands on any peace efforts and other government policy.