Daily Israel Report

It’s Final: Peres Entrusts Netanyahu with Forming a Government

President Peres met with Netanyahu at 2:15 p.m. and entrusted him with forming a government. Netanyahu has four weeks to announce his coalition.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/20/2009, 1:59 PM

Moshe Milner, GPO

President Peres met with Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu at 2:15 p.m. and entrusted him with the task of forming a government. Netanyahu now has 28 days to form a coalition and could receive two additional weeks if he needs them.

Peres formally announces decision with Netanyahu beside him.
Moshe Milner, GPO

Kadima leader Tzipi Livni said she was headed for the opposition. “A person who is willing to give up all of his values to sit on a chair is not worthy of occupying that chair,” she said after meeting with Peres on Friday.

Netanyahu told Peres in their meeting Friday that he is interested in forming a “unity government” – that is, a government that will include Kadima. “I want a unity government and I understand the need for such a government,” he told Peres. “Immediately after you entrust me with forming the government I will invite Kadima to negotiations,” he promised.

Livni and Netanyahu met separately with President Shimon Peres on Friday, as Peres tried to talk them into jointly establishing a national unity government. However, Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon (Kadima) said Friday morning that as long as Netanyahu insists upon creating an “extreme right-wing” government, Kadima cannot join him.

According to Ramon, Livni will not be able to conduct international diplomacy if Israel is unwilling to state that it accepts a two-state solution west of the Jordan River. In addition, Kadima will not sit in a government that legalizes Jewish outposts in Judea and Samaria, he avowed on Voice of Israel government radio. “This is not acceptable according to the Kadima platform,” he explained.

Livni stated Thursday that politics “are not just about numbers” and that she would head for the opposition because she believes in her “vision.”