Livni expected to announce early elections on Sunday

Friday, October 24, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Tzipi Livni, newly-elected head of Israel's ruling Kadima Party, announced on Friday that she will stick to a Sunday deadline for forming a new government, despite the fact that she has failed to bring all of the parties necessary for a majority coalition on board.

Livni is scheduled to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday morning to report on whether or not she was able to form a government in the alloted 42 days since taking over as Kadima leader from caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Chances of Livni pulling together a majority coalition at the last minute all but evaporated on Thursday when the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party said that it would not join the new government.

Livni can still form a narrow coalition of no more than 60 (out of 120) Knesset members, but both she and her main coalition partner, Labor Party leader Ehud Barak, have said they would rather to go early elections.

And that is precisely what Israel's Ynet reported many of Livni's own advisors are pushing for.

Many Israelis, including at least half of Kadima's registered voters, have insisted on early national elections instead of allowing Livni to become prime minister after being chosen by a mere 13,000 of her own party's members.

Up until now, polls have consistently shown that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party will win an early election by a healthy margin.

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