Livni throws in the towel, Israel to go to elections

Sunday, October 26, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni will not become her nation's second female prime minister. At least not yet.

After winning her Kadima Party's early primary election in September, Livni was given 42 days to cobble together a majority coalition to replace the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

But on Sunday Livni informed Israeli President Shimon Peres that she had failed in that task, and recommended going to early national elections.

Livni said during the weekly cabinet meeting that her potential coalition partners had unfortunately taken advantage of the situation by making demands she couldn't possibly meet.

"Recent days have seen coalition demands become impossible, and there was a need to draw the line. To say 'no more,'" Livni was widely quoted as saying by the Israeli media.

Peres could still forestall early elections by giving another Knesset member, such as Kadima primary runner-up Shaul Mofaz, an opportunity to pull together a coalition, though he is expected to accept Livni's recommendation.

The most likely date for early elections at this point is February 17 of next year.

In the meantime, Olmert will remain prime minister, and some fear that he may use his final three months in office to stage a political comeback by concluding a hasty peace agreement with the Palestinians.

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