Livni Rejects Netanyahu Coalition Offer

Move means ultra-right parties will make up next government
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2009 8:01 AM CST
Incoming Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and foreign minister and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni sit together prior to their meeting in Tel Aviv, Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.   (AP Photo/Moti Milrod)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister-designate, failed to persuade rival Tzipi Livni to join him in a broad coalition government, Haaretz reports. At a meeting today, Netanyahu made substantial concessions to the current foreign minister, including key ministerial posts for her party, Kadima. But Netanyahu's refusal to endorse a two-state solution left Livni unable to join his government.

Although Netanyahu may make further attempts to persuade her, both his Likud Party and Kadima say that a union is unlikely. That means Netanyahu will have to rely on ultra-Orthodox parties, along with the hard-right Yisrael Beiteinu, to muster a narrow majority. While some in Likud hoped they could persuade junior Kadima members to rebel against their leader, one Livni associate said that "the whole party is behind her. Talk here and there means nothing."