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Friday, February 27, 2009

Livni says no to Netanyahu-led government

Fri, 27 Feb 2009 12:56:17 GMT | PressTV

Presumptive Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has announced that her Kadima party would not join Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition.

"The meeting concluded without agreement on key issues," Livni said after talks with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Friday. "We will be a responsible opposition."

The closed door talks were the second between the two leaders since Netanyahu was ordered on February 20 by President Shimon Peres to name a cabinet.

"I have done everything possible to achieve unity ... but to my great regret, I faced categorical rejection from Mrs Livni," the Likud leader said after the 90-minute meeting.

Although Kadima and Labor turned down Netanyahu's appeal, he can still clinch to premiership by forming a right-wing coalition government.

Livni said before the meeting that the Likud leader "does not believe in the peace process and is a prisoner of the right-wing's traditional vision," and that his government would block any peace deal with the Palestinians.

"Under these circumstances the best option is to serve the people from the opposition benches," she said.

Despite wining only 27 seats - one seat shy of Kadima -in the Knesset (Israeli parliament), Likud was mandated to form the next cabinet.

Peres decided that Netanyahu stands a better chance of patching together a coalition by an early April deadline, given that Livini once failed to form a coalition government late last year.

This is while a recent poll has revealed that most people believe the Israeli prime minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, will not succeed in forming a government.

The failure of his talks with Livni is expected to raise concerns over negotiations with the Palestinians, as the right-wing leader once halted the peace process as Israel's prime minister by authorizing an expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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