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Barak: We'll take opposition Photo: Dudu Azulay
Barak: We'll take opposition Photo: Dudu Azulay
 
Livni, joining forces with Lieberman Photo: AP
Livni, joining forces with Lieberman Photo: AP
 
Avigdor Lieberman Photo: AFP
Avigdor Lieberman Photo: AFP
 
 

 

Barak to Labor MKs: We'll sit in opposition

Labor chairman tells shrinking party's MKs it will not enter any coalition. Meanwhile, Kadima's Livni slated to meet Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman for talks, Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu schedules meeting with Shas head

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 02.11.09, 13:12 / Israel News

After election results showed the Labor party reaching a new low in popularity, Chairman Ehud Barak announced he would lead the party to the opposition.

 

In a talk with the party's MKs, Barak said the 13-mandate Labor party was unlikely to be a member of any coalition to be formed, and would move over to the opposition seats.

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Tuesday night Barak exhibited less resolution, and in his defeat speech at the party's headquarters said, "The results require us to learn from our mistakes. My mistakes first and foremost, we must learn our lessons and continue to serve the public in the best way possible.

 

"We will consider what is best for the party, and far more important – what is best for the country. We are not afraid to sit in the opposition and serve the people from there."

 

Meanwhile, a senior Labor member told Ynet on Wednesday, that regardless of the party's position in the Knesset, "Barak has some soul searching to do, as do those who ran the election campaign. They pushed everyone aside, made all the decisions on their own, and they have to pay the price.

 

Top Labor officials said the party should prepare for primary elections in near future to replace Barak as chairman. According to the party's constitution, internal elections must be held within 14 months after a loss in general elections.

 

Labor sources named Ophir Pines, Isaac Herzog, Amir Peretz and Avishai Braverman as potential candidates to run for head of the party. 

 

Livni to meet with Lieberman

Meanwhile, Kadima is working towards setting up a coalition and members have been trying to convince party factions to recommend Tzipi Livni as prime minister to President Shimon Peres. They will have to overcome the fact that, according to unofficial results, the rightist bloc has 65 seats.

 

The Kadima chairwoman is slated to meet with Avigdor Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beiteinu party received 15 mandates.

 

While Lieberman admitted he was naturally more inclined to join a Right-wing coalition, a senior party official said that Yisrael Beiteinu has not made a final decision regarding who it will support for prime minister: "We prefer to form a national camp with Netanyahu, but we haven't ruled out Livni yet."

 

The Yisrael Beiteinu faction will convene ahead of Lieberman's meeting with Livni to consider their options.

 

Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu is not wasting any time either, and has already scheduled a meeting with Shas Chairman Eli Yishai on Wednesday for initial talks towards the formation of a rightist bloc.

 

YIshai has said in the past that he would support Netanyahu for prime minister. Netanyahu on Wednesday appointed advocate Yaakov Ne'eman to head the team that would handle direct coalitional negotiations.

 

Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) told Ynet on Wednesday, "It's legitimate for Netanyahu to try, but this is unprecedented. Livni won the elections. What is Netanyahu thinking? That he can speak with all the factions today, put them on a piece of paper, and determine the fate of the State for four years?"

 

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