Updated 10/26 12:00 PM EST
Source close to Tzipi Livni, the new head of Israel’s ruling Kadima Party, accused the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party of having “deceived the entire country” in the wake of today’s announcement that they would not be joining a new coalition government headed by the would-be Prime Minister Livni.
Livni said yesterday that she would call for new elections if a coalition deal was not completed by Sunday. Kadima was reportedly investigating a coalition without Shas, but that has been abandoned in favor of new elections, and Livni told President Shimon Peres today that the coalition efforts had failed and urged him to announce new elections. Peres is expected to do so in the next few days.
A Livni associate said that through the night before the announcement, Shas had given the impression that they were close to approving a deal that would have made that possible.
When the election happens, polls suggest that Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party will gain significantly, and could be returned to power. Israeli media suggests that a renewed alliance between Netanyahu and Shas may have played a role in the decision.
Netanyahu is considerably more hawkish than Livni. He has called for attacking Iran, claiming the nation is unique in the world in being completely immune to deterrence. He has also vowed to resume settlement building if he retakes the prime ministry, and has publicly condemned the Gaza ceasefire and peace talks with Syria.