Livni arrived at the President's Residence at around 11 am Monday and met with Peres for an hour and 20 minutes. She briefed the president on the progress made in the coalition talks and asked him for a fortnight's extension after the initial 28-day window allotted her to assemble the new cabinet, as specified in Basic Law: The Government, had elapsed.
The law allows her a 14-day extension, but should she remain unable to form a new government, or should the cabinet she presents the Knesset with fail to gain a vote of confidence, Peres would be within his rights to assign another Knesset member with the task.
Should the second chosen MK fail to form a government, and unless 61 MKs inform the president of their support in one of their peers for the premiership, the Knesset would be dissolved and general elections woudl be called within 90 days.
"We are making the necessary effort in order to relieve the people of the uncertainty surrounding the political situation, and form a stable government," said Livni after the meeting.
"I believe the responsibility I have assumed compels me to try and form a cabinet. This time of financial instability, on top of the other challenges we face, calls for us to demonstrate national responsibility.
"The parties' leaders should make a decision they can live with," she added. "I believe they will make the right decision, and I can only hope it would be a quick one."
Livni with Peres at President's Residence (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)
Peres shared some of his political insights with Livni, saying that experience has taught him that "coalition talks are complex and they require considerable effort. The need for governmental stability requires you to have an opportunity to see the process through."
Livni is determined to present the Knesset with a new cabinet within days. Prompted by the recently signed agreement with Labor, and what has been described as favorable negotiations with Shas, Meretz and United Torah Judaism, her primary goal is said to be forming a wide-base coalition.
Upon receiving the nomination, the newly elected party chairman called for political unity: "I believe that Israel needs stability, and a guiding hand. The first and right choice for Israel is a stable government that will serve until the end of the current Knesset's term," she said.