The quest for a coalition government in Israel could take weeks after yesterday’s elections left Tzipi Livni’s Kadima Party with a narrow lead in the number of seats but a very difficult path to forming a coalition. While both Kadima and rival Likud were celebrating victory earlier this morning, the consensus now is that Likud is in a much better position to form the government.
Still, Livni has promised to press forward with an effort to put together a coalition, while conceding that if she is unable to do so in the next few days she will be left to decide between leading the opposition or joining Likud’s government.
The path to a Kadima coalition seems to go through right-wing secularist Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. Livni has suggested she could offer two major concessions: allowing civil unions for couples who wouldn’t be permitted a religious marriage, and making unspecified changes to the government. Lieberman’s key issue during the campaign, requiring Arabs to take loyalty oaths, was not mentioned, nor was his major post election demand: the destruction of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
Getting Lieberman’s endorsement could come at a price however, as some sources say that both Labor and Meretz, presumptive Kadima partners, might withdraw their support in that event.
Another presumed part of a right-wing coalition, United Torah Judaism, has also hinted that it may be open to supporting either party, saying they would support whatever “the Torah sages decree” and that this would likely mean whichever has the best chance of forming a stable government.
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