Israelis to go to the polls: Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni has reportedly decided to call general elections. The foreign minister is expected to inform President Shimon Peres Sunday that she has failed to form a new coalition.
The decision was taken following intense consultations at Livni's home in Tel Aviv Saturday. During the evening, the foreign minister also met for a one-on-one talk with Minister Shaul Mofaz. Later Saturday, Livni called Labor Chairman Ehud Barak to inform him of her decision.
The Kadima chairwoman met Saturday evening with her advisors and close associates to decide on her next moves. During the meeting, participants discussed whether to form a narrow government or call for general elections.
Livni held talks and consulted with senior Kadima figures throughout the weekend. She made it clear that she fears her image could be undermined should she continue to engage in negotiations and face political extortion attempts by potential coalition partners.
The Kadima chairwoman told senior party officials that she does not want to see the image she had created over the years shattered because of political extortion during the negotiations on forming a new government.
On Friday, several Kadima party officials harshly criticized Livni's handling of coalition negotiations, saying she erred by declaring that a decision on elections will be made by Sunday. Also Friday, sources close to the Kadima chairwoman said Shas leader Eli Yishai withheld information from the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, regarding the understandings reached during the coalition negotiations. Yishai said his party will not be joining a Livni-led government at this time.