Livni backtracks, gives Netanyahu conditions for joining gov't

Sunday, March 15, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff  

Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni on Sunday officially reversed course and said she would be willing to join a government headed by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, if he meets her conditions.

Livni wants Netanyahu to break off all coalition negotiations and deals with the right-wing parties he turned to after she rejected his initial unity government offer.

She also wants Netanyahu and his government to commit itself to concluding a peace deal with the Palestinians that leads to the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.

To make sure the incoming government remains on that path, Livni wants full control of Israel's foreign affairs.

On top of that, the Kadima leader has demanded that Netanyahu agree to a power-sharing structure that would see him server as prime minister for three years. Livni would serve as prime minister for the final 21 months of the government's scheduled term.

Livni's demands run contrary to many of Netanyahu's election campaign promises. Nevertheless, the two reportedly held private coalition talks last week, and additional meetings are expected in the coming days.

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