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Kadima presses Likud to forge power-sharing deal

Likud 22%

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Israel's Kadima party on Sunday called for a power-sharing deal with right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu amid furious haggling in the wake of tight parliamentary elections. "A rotation is the minimum that Kadima can demand so that a stable government sees the light of day," said Avi Dichter, a Kadima member and public security minister in the outgoing government.

He was referring to a power-sharing arrangement Israel had in 1984 after another close ballot, when the two top parties each held the post of prime minister for two years.

Kadima chief and current Foreign Minister "Tzipi Livni has received the preference of public opinion and Netanyahu has to admit so. We have to have a fair equilibrium" between the two parties, Dichter said.

Netanyahu has so far rejected the rotating premiership option.

Although Kadima won 28 seats in last week's general election, one more than Likud, Netanyahu is widely tipped to become the next prime minister. 

Under Israeli law, the person charged with trying to form a new government is not necessarily the leader of the largest party but the one with the best chances of cobbling together a coalition capable of securing a majority in the 120-seat Knesset. Netanyahu, with support from fellow right-wing parties that dominated the February 10 vote, can rely on 65 seats in Parliament, whereas Livni has the backing of 44.

A purely right-wing government would be highly unstabe, however, with most observers predicting its demise within 18 months or so, and Netanyahu is thought to prefer a broad coalition that would include Kadima.


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