In his meeting with Shimon Peres in
Jerusalem Thursday morning, Yisrael Beiteinu
Chairman Avigdor Lieberman recommended that the president task Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the next coalition.
Sixty-five Knesset members, including members of Yisrael Beiteinu, support a Netanyahu-led government, while Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni has
yet to garner support from any party besides her own.
However, Lieberman added that the recommendation is conditioned on the establishment of a "broad coalition."
will be prime minister, but this will be both Netanyahu and Livni's government, and Tzipi must get used to the idea that rotation (sharing of power) is not an option," he said.
According to him, the economic and security-related challenges facing Israel demand a broad coalition: "We need a government that includes all of the major parties – Kadima, Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu. Other parties are also welcome to join."
Representatives of the HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party also recommended Netanyahu for prime minister, while Meretz
recommended neither candidate. "In light of the ideological liquidation sale conducted by Livni during the coalition talks with Lieberman, in direct contrast to her election promises, we cannot recommend that she form the next government," incoming Meretz Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz said.
"Livni vowed during the campaign that she would block a Netanyahu-Lieberman government, and now she is bypassing Bibi from the right."
Following the meeting with Peres, Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron said, "We cannot recommend Bibi because his views contradict our basic values, and we did not recommend Livni because her ability to form a coalition is highly questionable. The 'tango' between Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu is the main reason we are not backing Livni."