Powered by WebAds

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lieberman recommends Netanyahu

It's all over. Israel Radio just reported that Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman recommended a broad coalition of the three biggest parties under Netanyahu's leadership - no 'rotation.'

It's all over for Livni.

More to follow.


Lieberman let everyone know what he was going to do on his way into the President's residence.
In his meeting with President Shimon Peres this morning (Thursday), the head of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) added that this recommendation applies only if Netanyahu tries to form a national unity government with Kadima. This part of his recommendation, however, carries no official weight.

"Netanyahu and Livni must sit together in the government, without rotation," Lieberman told Peres. "A government of 65 MKs [with only the nationalist and religious parties, as well as Yisrael Beiteinu] will be nothing more than a 'survival' government."
Of course, 'survival government' is a term that would describe just about every government this country has had since the early 80's. And there is still plenty of suspense here for the rest of the week:
If Netanyahu chooses a unity government, will he begin the negotiations with Kadima - or will he give his natural partners “first dibs”? And what about Kadima itself – is it interested in joining a Netanyahu-led government, or will it remain in the Opposition, as leader Tzipi Livni has said? Livni has said that she will agree only to a unity government that includes a rotation agreement between her and Netanyahu as Prime Minister. The Likud has ruled out such a scenario.
Here's my take. There won't be a rotation. Peres will give the mandate to Netanyahu (he has no choice), but he will warn Netanyahu that he should form a 'national unity' government. I still like my 'Barak as defense minister' scenario with both Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu on the outside. It should be an interesting week.


Israel Radio is reporting that Kadima is in a 'panic' because they expected Lieberman not to recommend anyone.



Israel Radio is interviewing Zev Boim of Kadima who is a minister in the current government. He claims not to have been surprised because he wasn't conducting the negotiations with Lieberman. He said that it is worth investigating a 'national unity' government. He says Kadima wants a national unity government, but first we have to see if it's a real partnership. The key - he claims - is the founding principles and not the ministries. He thinks a rotation is still on the table (I highly doubt it). They just broke for the news.


I should probably clarify (as Israel Radio just did) that Lieberman does not reject the possibility of entering a narrow, right-wing coalition headed by Netanyahu.



The sour grapes are now pouring out of Boim's mouth. The theme: Netanyahu has already made promises to the right-wing parties and is now looking for us as a fig leaf. The announcer even suggested that Boim got 'instructions' from his party during the news break (he turned much more hostile after the break), but he's denying it.

It's a pleasure watching this ideologically empty party squirm.

Will Livni lead them into opposition when she doesn't get her rotation? It sounds like it. On the other hand, will Livni survive in opposition? Here's betting that the more right-leaning members of Kadima (like Shaul Mofaz) will seek to return to the Likud if Kadima sits in opposition.



Livni says Kadima won't be a fig leaf for an 'extreme right wing government.' That seems to be the party line since Boim said the same thing. They seem to be leaving themselves an opening to go into the government so long as the only other parties in it are Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu (they say they won't be a fig leaf for 'an extreme nationalist and ultra-Orthodox government'). But Livni only wants to go into THAT government based on a rotation, and while Netanyahu may get pressure in that direction from President Peres and from the Hopenchange administration in Washington, it is also possible that the same persons will push Livni to go into a government headed by Netanyahu.

In the meantime, the left is tearing itself apart.
Representatives of the HaBayit HaYehudi (Jewish Home) party also recommended Netanyahu for prime minister, while Meretz recommended neither candidate. "In light of the ideological liquidation sale conducted by Livni during the coalition talks with Lieberman, in direct contrast to her election promises, we cannot recommend that she form the next government," incoming Meretz Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz said.

"Livni vowed during the campaign that she would block a Netanyahu-Lieberman government, and now she is bypassing Bibi from the right."

Following the meeting with Peres, Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron said, "We cannot recommend Bibi because his views contradict our basic values, and we did not recommend Livni because her ability to form a coalition is highly questionable. The 'tango' between Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu is the main reason we are not backing Livni."
Purim is in the air. I'm reminded of the verse from the Purim story just after Haman's fall: 'And the City of Shushan was overjoyed and happy.'



At 11:44 AM, Blogger bluke said...

I believe that Lieberman overplayed his hand and both Kadima and the Likud are very annoyed at him. In fact, my prediction is that Netanyahu will make a government with Kadima and Shas and leave Lieberman out. It will be easier for both Kadima and the Likud to sit with Shas.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Purim? More like Tish'a B'av.

"Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves; every one loveth bribes, and followeth after rewards; they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. - Isaiah 1:23

At 1:17 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

There's a good chance Labor will recommend Bibi so Ehud Barak won't have to pack his bags at the Defense Ministry just yet. If Labor goes in, watch for Kadima to drop its demands for a rotation so it can keep a couple of ministries in its pocket.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Only if Livni can overcome her ego.

My bet is that Netanyahu finds a way to convince Barak to bring Labor in (that was the party he wanted in a 'broad coalition' in the first place), makes Barak defense minister and leaves both Livni and Lieberman out in the cold.


Labor recommended no one.

At 7:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - they insulted Livni and are playing hard to get. That's the real subtext to Barak's message and he could still change his mind for the right price later. First he'll wait and see what Bibi offers and then see if Livni follows through on her principles. Like Kadima has any to begin with!



Post a Comment

<< Home