Livni to meet Peres on Sunday
Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO

Livni: Sunday is decision day

Kadima chairwoman tells faction members the time has come to decide whether to form new government or call for general elections; meanwhile, Livni hits snag in talks with Shas, Pensioners' Party

Decision time is here: Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni says a decision will be made by Sunday on whether to form a new government or call for general elections.


Speaking to Kadima faction members, Livni said: "Decisions need to be made by Sunday, and then we will know whether we'll have a government or elections."


Before the faction session, Livni met with Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who she defeated in the recent primary elections, for the second time in the past 24 hours.


"My tendency in the wake of the primaries was to go to general elections, yet I thought it would be appropriate to form a stable government," Livni said at the start of Thursday's faction session.


"We have an agreement with Labor and we presented decent proposals to the other parties…the proposals submitted are socially minded and enable potential partners to present achievements to their voters."


Livni made it clear that she does not intend to spend much time negotiating, saying that "the clarifications demanded by the partners are legitimate, but I won't drag it out anymore…the holidays are over, the time for decisions has come, and there is no need for more time."


'We will win elections'

The foreign minister said that she is willing to pay a price to form a government, but stressed that she is not willing to pay any price.


"The partners know this. I informed the president that I will be coming to him on Sunday and we'll decided between elections and a government – if we go to elections, we'll win," she said.


The pressure on Livni has increased in recent hours, after the Pensioners' Party's negotiation team canceled a planned meeting with the Kadima team. The party's chairman, Rafi Eitan, said that a draft submitted by Kadima earlier "proves that the pensioners are not at the top of the designated government's agenda."


Following their meeting with Kadima's negotiation team Thursday evening, Shas representatives reported that some progress was made, but added that the main dispute regarding child allowances has yet to be resolved.


Shas rejected on Wednesday Livni's offer to allocate NIS 650 million ($168 million) toward child allowances, saying they would settle for no less than a billion shekels (roughly $260 million).
However, senior party officials told Ynet that party leader Eli Yishai may be willing to consider reducing the demands.


"Yishai want to be in the government, but only he feels that the issue of child allowances is handled to Shas' satisfaction," one of the officials said.


A source close to Livni said "if Shas refuses to accept our offer, it means they do not want to be a part of the coalition."


פרסום ראשון: 10.23.08, 18:04
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