The political horse-trading in Israel looks sets to be a round-the-clock affair as Ehud Olmert’s successor attempts to put her own stamp on government.
Tzipi Livni won the leadership of the ruling Kadima party by a tiny margin. But a new face can mean new alliances at a new price.
The ultra-orthodox Shas party is a king-maker but Livni wants to pursue peace with the Palestinians and it rules out any solution involving Jerusalem.
Shas leader Eli Yishai, visited Livni at her home for talks. He said: “Our interest is that of the well being of the state of Israel and its citizens. We care that it will be stable. We need to examine the intentions of Kadima and its leader. This is why I am here.”
The man Livni beat, albeit by a few hundred votes, congratulated her, then threw in his political towel.
Shaul Mofaz, a former general and then transport minister, informed reporters that he had decided to take a time-out.
“I need to decide about my future, and other options where I can contribute to Israel. I am not asking for a role in the cabinet or parliament.”
The right-wing is demanding a snap general election which it would likely win. But Livni has 42 days to present a viable majority.