President Shimon Peres has concluded the round of talks to determine which party leader he will task with forming the new government. But while Kadima has declared it plans to sit in the opposition, the Likud is still trying to win them over.
"In light of the scope of the challenges Israel faces – Iran, terrorism, the economic crisis and unemployment – a broad unity government is a must," Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday evening.
His statement came hours after Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni informed her supporters she intends to lead to the party to the opposition rather than join an 'extremist' right-wing coalition.
The Likud responded, saying that "immediately after President Peres tasks Likud Chairman Netanyahu with forming the government, (Netanyahu) will call on Kadima Chairwoman Livni and Labor Chairman Barak to join a broad unity government under his leadership."
With the culmination of the round of talks with Peres, the score stands markedly in Netanyahu's favor with 65 endorsements (from the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, the National Union and
Habayit Hayehudi). Meanwhile Livni garnered the support of the 28 members of her own party. Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties chose not to recommend any candidate to Peres.
As a significant number of parties, from both sides of the political spectrum, asked Peres to work towards securing a national unity government, the president has summoned Netanyahu to his office for a private meeting on Friday morning at 10:00, and Livni at 11:30. He intends to stress to both of them the importance of the matter.
Peres is expected to announce his decision by Sunday.