Livni to Haaretz: I may consider a Likud-Yisrael Beitenu coalition
Peres to try to promote unity coalition, but eidely expected to ask Netanyahu to form government.
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni will not join a government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu that would include Shas, Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, but she would be willing to consider a Likud-Kadima-Yisrael Beiteinu coalition, she told Haaretz on Thursday.
President Shimon Peres is expected to meet separately Friday with Netanyahu and Livni to try to promote a broad coalition that would include Kadima.
But Thursday, 65 MKs - all the right-wing and religious factions - recommended to Peres that he appoint Likud's Netanyahu to form the coalition, and Peres is expected to ask Netanyahu on Sunday to do so.
The left wing and Arab parties declined to make a recommendation.
Livni said Netanyahu was "asking us to join a coalition that he would first establish with Shas, which demanded that I stop negotiating with the Palestinians, and with Habayit Hayehudi and National Union, and with Bibi [Netanyahu] himself, who meanwhile refuses to talk about a two-state solution." She said she would not be able to explain to her voters what she was doing in such a coalition.
Lieberman told the president he would like to see a "trio" coalition of all three big parties. He said a narrow coalition was "a possibility" but that it would constantly have to fight for its survival.
Livni said she has the full backing of her Knesset faction. "Netanyahu wants us to stabilize the government. He won't get us. This is a coalition that will damage the country. It won't be stable, but I won't be there to save Bibi from himself and his partners," she said.
"I hear I'm being offered veto power; Kadima didn't come out the largest party to veto moves in the coalition, but to lead them."
Sources close to Netanyahu have said over the past few days that Kadima might receive two senior ministerial portfolios: foreign affairs and finance, and Livni would be deputy prime minister.
In the face of criticism from party MKs over her talks with Lieberman, Livni said she had tried unsuccessfully to persuade Lieberman not to recommend anyone to the president, and the two parties had almost nothing in common. "I did what I had to do. I am going to the opposition," she said.