Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich, whose party won the disappointing third place in Israel's general elections with 15 Knesset seats, is fighting to prevent Yair Lapid from joining a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On noon Wednesday, Yachimovich told reporters outside her home that she called Lapid and congratulated him "On his remarkable achievement," and urged him to take advantage of it to form a different coalition.
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"I urge (Lapid) not to join a Netanyahu-led government and not take part in the middle-class' calamity, which will happen the day after he is sworn in. Should he choose the other way – I'll stand by him and assist."
Won't join government. Yachimovich (Photo: Ido Erez)
She admitted that "The Labor's results are disappointing, though they're much more than we could have expected a year and a half ago.
"But we still wanted a larger public to support our path. It's a complicated path – not easy, not sectorial. We're a party which feels obliged towards all Israelis, even those who don't vote for us. We would have obviously preferred for more to support us and our way."
Yair Lapid. Most courted man in the scene (Photo: Reuters)
Yachimovich added that she intends to do all in her power to "take advantage of the political possibility opened yesterday to form a coalition of moderate, social, peace advocate and centrist forces without Benjamin Netanyahu as PM. I intend to put a great deal of effort into it."
She reiterated that should this not prove possible, she'll remain in the opposition.
"This will be a strong, aggressive and biting opposition and we'll do all we can to prevent Netanyahu from imposing the socially unbearable hell he's planning if he manages to form a government."
Following its meager six mandate win in the elections, Hatnua Party has also been engaged in consultations and meetings since Wednesday morning.
Earlier, party sources said that the issue of the equal distribution of burden will be a condition to Tzipi Livni's joining the coalition, noting that taking part in the government is the preferred option.
"You can say that Livni has exhausted the adventures of the opposition, but joining the government will not be unconditional. A Livni government will carry more legitimacy, will be longer and quieter," a party official said.
Regarding their low mandate count, the party said that "The trend was in favor of Yair Lapid. We assume he gained from the refusal to unify the center bloc. We were the target for attacks by all parties without exception. Anyway, it's probably better for Lapid to join the government together with Livni."
Shahar Chai contributed to this report
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