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Livni: Public is watching us Photo: Reuters
Livni: Public is watching us Photo: Reuters
 
Wants to join forces. Netanyahu Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Wants to join forces. Netanyahu Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
 
 

Livni sets hard tone before coalition talks

Ahead of meeting with Netanyahu Kadima head says party would rather sit in opposition than together with Likud's 'natural partners' in coalition that would 'prevent Kadima from leading its way'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 02.22.09, 19:11 / Israel News

Just hours before her scheduled meeting with Likud Chairman Benjamin Netnayahu, who has been assigned the task of forming Israel's next coalition government, Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni said her party would be "a responsible opposition".

 

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In a speech before Kadima members Sunday, Livni said "The result between Kadima and the Likud is clear, but apparently there is a group of 65 natural partners for Bibi."

 

She said Kadima must not be dragged into a Rightist government. "The public is watching us. We've spoken of a test of substance and significance, and now the choice is between promotion of plans and losing our way," Livni added.

 

The Kadima leader said that her party would not compromise its values in order to be part of the materializing government. "The current composition of the government will not allow us to lead our way," she said.

 

Livni outlined her expectations for Sunday's meeting. "I'm not looking for words, I'm looking for the meaning to which we are committed. The decision is not simple, and will be made according to criteria we have set for ourselves," she said.

 

"We will be a responsible opposition," Livni added, and explained that the party would not sit in a coalition together with Netanyahu's "natural partners", among them the religious Shas Party.

 


Hanegbi (L), Mofaz and Livni during faction meeting (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

"I have repeatedly said that the choice is between hope and despair, between realizing the two-state solution and a lack of vision in this regard," she added.

 

"We've spoken of our commitment to changing the system of government and Israel's values as a Jewish and democratic state; the public has placed its trust in us based on the assumption that we would live up to our promises," Livni said.

 

Minister Shaul Mofaz, placed second on Kadima's Knesset roster, told the Kadima faction meeting "we would have been happy to form the coalition. There is no exaltation in the opposition. The citizens want us to have an impact, and we won't let the extreme right lead the process."

 

According to Mofaz, the meeting with Netanyahu Sunday evening "is about the foundation lines, and there are two important things – the continuation of the peace process and changing the system of government."

 

Earlier Netanyahu said he would attempt to join forces with Kadima in order to create a unity government.

 

"Faced with challenges like Iran, Hamas and terror, we have to reach an agreement via negotiations and not through arm wrestling. Unity cannot abide dictates," said the Likud head, alluding to far-reaching stipulations set by Kadima ahead of the coalition talks.

 

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