Israeli Pols Scramble for Tiebreaker Coalitions

After near-tie, Livni, Netanyahu scramble to form coalitions
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2009 7:04 AM CST
Israel's Foreign Minister and Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni, reacts during election night rally in Tel Aviv, Israel, Feb. 11, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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(Newser) – Israel's two would-be prime ministers began meeting with possible coalition partners today as the country prepared for weeks of squabbling to resolve last night's inconclusive election, Haaretz reports. With 99% of the votes counted, Tzipi Livni's centrist Kadima has won 28 seats in the 120-member parliament, while Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish Likud has 27.

But right-wing parties fared better than left-wing ones, meaning it might be easier for Netanyahu to form a government. This morning he meets with far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman, whose party came third at the polls with 15 seats. Lieberman is reportedly keeping his options open, although he has said he prefers a "nationalist" government. A coalition government is also possible—although who would lead that coalition remains unclear.