Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday morning with representatives of the National Union and asked them to recommend that President Shimon Peres task him with forming the new government, but the right-wing party has apparently decided to keep all options open.
"We are not in anyone's pocket and may not recommend anyone to the president," National Union Chairman Yaakov Katz told Ynet before the meeting.
A scheduled meeting between Netanyahu and representatives of the Habayit Hayehudi party has been postponed to next week.
In addition to the National Union's demand not to evacuate settlements and concede parts of the Land of Israel, the party says it will support Netanyahu only if he raises the child allowances and the budgets of religious and ultra-Orthodox educational institutions.
Yaakov Katz told Ynet before entering the meeting in Tel Aviv, "We went to these elections with a very clear platform, and we are not robots who automatically vote for one candidate or another or recommend him.
"If we have the slightest doubt that as a result of our recommendation Bibi will be sitting in the next government with (Kadima Chairwoman) Tzipi Livni and negotiating Annapolis, another Arab country between the sea and the Jordan River, giving away parts of the Land of Israel and dealing improperly with the outposts, the chances we'll recommend him are close to nothing.
"We will not let our recommendation be used for inappropriate things," he added.
'Once bitten twice shy'The National Union chairman implied that his party may face some problems with Netanyahu, and therefore "once bitten twice shy".
"We sit among our people and are aware of the media's pressure on him. He can have an excellent government of 65 supporters which will function four full years, but I don’t know if he has the power and courage to do so.
"He has all kinds of people sabotaging thing for him – his strategic advisors – and this may cause him to lose not only our recommendation, but that of Shas, United Torah Judaism and Habayit Hayehudi as well. No one will recommend him to find themselves outside, with Tzipi Livni inside the government."
The National Union party gained four Knesset seats in Tuesday's elections.