Even as he seems to have consolidated his support on the Israeli right, Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-standing ambition to form a grand coalition including “all of the Zionist parties” seems to be very close to dead in the water.
Ehud Barak’s Labor Party today ruled out joining a Netanyahu-led government, with Barak instead saying it is his intention for Labor to serve as a “responsible, serious and constructive opposition.” Long a powerhouse in Israeli politics, the Labor Party’s support cratered in the most recent election, finishing in fourth place in overall seats.
Tzipi Livni, leader of the first-place Kadima Party likewise pointed to “deep disagreements” with Likud, particularly on the question of peace with the Palestinians. She has repeatedly ruled out joining a right-wing government, but her willingness to continue to meet with Netanyahu has left the door open, if not particularly wide, to a center-right coalition.
At the end of the day, however, Netanyahu appears to have ample support on the far right of the political spectrum to form a government without the center or the left. Such a government would have a narrow majority and would be plagued by infighting between its secularist and religious factions and might lead to another election in short order, but seems to be the only practical route remaining if Netanyahu is to form his government.
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