ANALYSIS / Without Lieberman, Livni Has No Government

Voters who decided to vote Kadima instead of Labor will wake up to hear that Livni is courting far-rightist.

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Tens of thousands of left-wing voters who recently decided to vote for Kadima instead of Labor or Meretz will wake up this morning to hear that Tzipi Livni is vigorously courting far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman.

Without Lieberman, Livni has no government. Even with the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Livni's ability to form a government is in great doubt.

Livni won a major victory yesterday. She beat Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, which had been leading in the polls until the last minute. The election had boiled down to Tzipi vs. Bibi, and the public decided in favor of Livni. Even if Netanyahu does end up forming the government, he sustained a stinging blow yesterday.

The young woman Netanyahu appointed some 13 years ago as head of the Israel Government Companies Authority has now surpassed him, according to all the exit polls. Livni's victory was achieved by stomping the left-wing camp, including Labor and Meretz. But even the right-wing bloc, which exit polls put at 67 Knesset seats, has shriveled.

A word of warning: Last night we only had the exit polls, but experience shows that by morning the picture will change by a seat or two - and in this case every seat could play a critical role. What political, electoral and coalition complications were created yesterday. Only Israel's version of democracy could come up with the largest political bloc being comprised of Likud and right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties at the same time that the largest party is the one leading the center-left camp.

Livni will argue that she should be assigned the task of forming a government because her party is the leading party, while Netanyahu will argue that he is leading the "national" camp that won the majority of votes (on the assumption that Yisrael Beiteinu is indeed part of this bloc).