During her meeting with Oron, the foreign minister expressed her desire to "establish a long-term government and to include Meretz in that government." She added that holding general elections in a few months would be the "worst possible option."
Livni stated that she is "committed to negotiations, both with the Palestinians and with the Syrians," noting that she is "not willing to pay the price of ceasing negotiations with the Palestinians."
In response to Livni's meeting with Oron, Likud faction leader Gideon Sa'ar said that "Livni's offer, as well as her stated commitment to follow in Olmert's footsteps vis-a-vis the Palestinians and Syrians, indicates that she is attempting form a left-wing coalition, which will maintain and exacerbate Olmert's failing policies."
Peace Now responded positivelty to Livni's overture, calling on the Meretz and Labor parties to join a new coalition under the leadership of recently elected Kadima chairman Tzipi Livni, "on the condition that the new government will promote negotiations with the Palestinians and Syrians, and strive for peace."
Livni and Labor
Livni has yet to reach out formally to the Labor party, the second largest member of the current coalition. Earlier, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the chairman of Labor, expressed willingness to enter into an emergency coalition government with Livni.
However, senior party officials criticized his decision, stating that "it's unclear who Barak consulted before reaching this decision and based on what information he insists on creating an emergency government."
Several sectors among the Labor party, including Arab communities and kibbutzim, are expected to appeal to Barak to remain in the current government, instead of agreeing to a short-term, emergency coalition.
At the same time, Deputy Foreign Minister Matan Vilnai (Labor) said that "we are not afraid of general elections. The Labor party is a living, breathing entity. We feel rejuvenated."
On the other side of the spectrum, Livni is expected to meet with Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the National Unity-National Religious Party, on Saturday night.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report