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Friday, February 20, 2009

It's official, it's Bibi

A few minutes ago, President Shimon Peres met for the second time today with Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and assigned him the task of forming Israel's next government. And after this morning's meetings between Peres and Netanyahu and Peres and Tzipi Livni, it is likely that Netanyahu will be forming a narrow government with Livni in opposition.
President Shimon Peres has decided to task Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the next government. Peres will inform Netanyahu of the decision in a meeting at the presidential residence at 2:15 pm Friday afternoon.

Earlier, President Peres met separately with Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni after formal consultations between the president and the faction representatives have ended.

Peres urged both leaders to form a broad national unity government that will include both Likud and Kadima.

Netanyahu, who was the first to meet Peres, told the president that he understood the need for a unity government. "Immediately after you task me with forming the coalition, I will invite Kadima for negotiations," said the Likud leader.

"I'm willing to go far in order to establish such a government," he stated.

Shortly after their meeting concluded, Livni arrived at the president's residence in Jerusalem. After the meeting she said: "Whoever is willing to forsake all his values in order to sit in the coalition is unworthy to sit in that spot. There is a coalition here based on a lack of political vision, a coalition that will not allow me to exercise the way of Kadima.

"A broad coalition has no value if it does not lead the way. I cannot be a cover for a lack of way," added Livni.

Livni's associates stressed that unless Netanyahu agrees to rotation, "there's nothing to talk about."
Maybe Livni just doesn't get it. The fact that she won 28 out of 120 seats and that the Likud and parties to its Right won 65 out of 120 seats shows that the public has soundly rejected 'the way of Kadima.'

On the other hand, I would argue that she does get it, but she's too stubborn to accept it.

JPost adds that Livni even rejected joining a coalition of the three largest parties (Likud, Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu), which would exclude her newest bogeymen: Eli Yishai and Shas.
"It appears that the coalition which has been forming in recent days lacks a diplomatic vision," Livni said after the meeting. The Kadima leader rejected the president's plea that she reconsider joining a coalition comprised of the three largest parties - Kadima, Likud and Israeli Beiteinu - and asserted that a "broad coalition is worthless if it is not governed by values."
For those who have forgotten about Kadima's 'values,' I'd like to quote a little bit from a post I have linked several times this week that many of you may have missed. It's from an article by Ari Shavit (who turned up to cause Livni problems in this election too) and it was published just after the 2006 election. It was written as a letter to the 18 families (really there are only 12) that control Israel's economy. It was devastatingly accurate:

But the issue isn't just personal. As a vehicle, Kadima has the political structure we always dreamed of, being a party with no members and no institutions and no ideology. The new ruling party will be a vastly valuable tool to achieve our goals. Since it has no obligations downward, only upward, it will enable us to seize full control over the Israeli government. Police, prosecution, treasury - it will all be in our hands. Even the antitrust commissioner. The Supervisor of Banks. Even the Supreme Court will be manned with new, friendly faces. Like Berlusconi's Italy or Putin's Russia, Israel of Kadima will be a paradise for corporate control. The decrepit democratic regime of the 20th century will be replaced by a reign of the oligarchs with absolute economic power.

Ladies and gentlemen, do not underestimate the importance of this moment. In the last few months we proved we can hold elections with no debate of the issues, no confrontations, no true picture of the situation. We proved that by anesthetizing public opinion, we can mold it. We have perfected the art of managing the democratic process so as to yield the desired results.

And at the end, when the masses return home from the voting booth, we will be able to say with absolute certainty: We rule Israel absolutely. Not indirectly but directly, not partially but wholly. Israel is ours, dear 18 Families.

I have nothing but utter contempt for Kadima's 'values.' It was a party born in sin: The sin of the expulsion from Gaza. The sin of political gamesmanship and corruption. It has no values.

May it disintegrate quickly in the opposition.


At 6:49 PM, Blogger J. Lichty said...

I once thought Livni the fool, but she may outsmart Bibi on this one. Maybe she is driving a hard bargain because she knows Bibi fears a right wing government more than she does and he will cave as he has always done.

Or is just a fool, who will lose a significant chunk of her delegation to Likud while she wanders around the wilderness making coffee. Fascinating is this woman.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

My guess is Tzipi Livni is driving for a hard bargain... start high and then disclose your real price later. If she really is serious about staying out of the government, it will take much to hold such an empty party together for the next two to three years.

Should that happen, I join Carl in the hope Kadima will disintegrate in opposition.

At 8:51 PM, Blogger Robertcw72 said...

Livni is overplaying her hand. Either she will join the unity government headed by Likud or Kadima will finally dissolve. It is probably as simple as that but it will just take time for the pieces to fall in place. If Kadima joins, she will have a chance to rebuild herself and Kadima will still have a reason to exist.

At 1:41 AM, Blogger LB said...

I think Livni is playing it smart. If she joins - she won't be seen as much more than Bibi's sidekick - she gets to head the opposition if she holds out.

But with all this talk on changing the electoral system - will that matter? Probably not, but if they do (finally) change it, it's a whole new ballgame.


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