"We received a mandate from the people. We shall turn to our natural partners, and later aim to expand the government," Netanyahu reportedly said during a Likud faction meeting. "There will be no rotation."
"Should Kadima cast aside political considerations and spins, and show concern for the government and for the welfare of the State, they shall join our government," Netanyahu said. "I will embark on official contacts following the president's decision. It's not simple, yet also not too complicated."
'Sense of partnership'
A senior Likud official said Wednesday that the meeting was seemingly meant to update new faction members on coalition negotiations, yet "its main objective was to give faction members a sense of partnership" in order to avoid complaints later.
The new and expanded post-election Likud faction convened for the first time at the Knesset Wednesday evening. Unlike other such meetings, correspondents were kept out of the session and Netanyahu refrained from making an opening statement to the media.
The secrecy shrouding Netanyahu's actions lasted the entire day, as Bibi's aides refrained from providing the media with information regarding the location or content of his meetings with the representatives of various parties.
Earlier Wednesday, Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni met in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem with Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, whose party won 15 mandates in the elections, putting them in a key position for building the coalition.
At the end of her meeting with Lieberman, Livni said, "The public decided and established who it wants to see as the prime minister. This is an opportunity for unity that can promote the issues that are important to you as well."