Netanyahu Will Be Israel's PM

Likud leader secures support of ultranationalist Lieberman
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2009 4:47 AM CST
Israel's Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Conference of Presidents of Major American Organizations in Jerusalem, Monday, Feb. 16, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu is now all but certain to become Israel's prime minister after winning the backing of Avigdor Lieberman, whose far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party came in third in last week's election. Centrist Tzipi Livni edged out hawkish Netanyahu in the Feb. 10 poll, but Netanyahu has garnered the endorsement of more lawmakers. Lieberman's party made the announcement at a meeting with Shimon Peres, the president, who will now invite Netanyahu to form a government.

This afternoon Livni reacted to news of Lieberman's decision by saying that "Kadima won't provide cover for a government of paralysis." The current foreign minister seemed to imply that she would not join Netanyahu in a unity government, meaning he will have to rely on the support of ultra-Orthodox parties to muster a majority. Other members of Kadima also said today that Livni will go into opposition.