Pressure mounted after Kadima and the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu parties agreed on a number of issues Monday during negotiations over the emerging coalition. In the Likud Party, criticism could be heard on Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu's wooing of Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman.
Likud officials called Lieberman's demands for the position of foreign or defense minister "insolent", and one official said, "There is no obligation for a party with 15 mandates to earn one of the larger ministerial positions. There is no precedent for this and it's unclear why Lieberman thinks he deserves this."
As President Shimon Peres prepares to assign the office of prime minister to either Livni or Netanyahu, the Likud has postulated that if Labor does not recommend Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni to the president and Lieberman refrains from recommending Netanyahu, Yisrael Beiteinu's power would considerably weaken. Thus there is no need to grovel before Lieberman, officials reasoned.
Earlier Monday, Vice Premier Haim Ramon announced that a meeting with Yisrael Beiteinu's chief negotiator, MK Stas Misezhnikov, had ended on a high note with Kadima accepting most of the right-wing party's principles.
Kadima's answer to Yisrael Beiteinu's call for loyalty to the State in return for citizenship was: "In Israel, as the Jews' nation, national expression will not be given to national minorities. Thus the State will promise to show preference for discharged soldiers who served in the IDF as well as those who served a different service and contributed to the State's security."
At the beginning of the week aides to Lieberman said he was not interested in the finance portfolio, but rather had his sights on either the defense or foreign ministry.
On Monday Peres addressed the possibility that he would pressure Livni and Netanyahu to join forces in a unity government.
"I plan to respond to the people's wishes, and the people haven't asked me to impose anything. The people have told me to consider the election results with integrity and in accordance with the law, and I can only make a decision after I consult the parties," he said Monday.