Netanyahu, Livni likely to form next Israeli Government

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Jerusalem, Feb 12 (ANI): The Likud and Kadima parties will be able to form the new Israeli government together under the leadership of Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

A day after Kadima leader Tzipi Livni and Netanyahu declared victory separately in Tuesday's election, they both began a race against time to form a coalition on paper before President Shimon Peres started the process of appointing one of them to build a government next week, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Netanyahu and Livni both met with the leader of the third largest party, Israel Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman, in an attempt to woo him. But Lieberman raised several demands that either prime ministerial candidate would have a hard time accepting.

Livni appointed a coalition negotiating team of five top Kadima ministers and the party will continue with its political horse-trading in an effort to persuade Peres to let Livni form a government.

Senior Kadima officials said they were well aware that Peres would ask Netanyahu to form a government because of the Right bloc's 65-55 advantage over the Left, and that if Likud offered Kadima a sweet deal, they should take it.

Netanyahu's associates revealed that he would be willing to give Kadima the same number of ministries as the Likud, including two of the top four cabinet positions.

Likud would get the premiership and the Treasury, while Kadima could be given the Foreign and Defense ministries.

Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu would reportedly offer Kadima leader Tzipi Livni two out of the top four ministries to join his government.

"We're ready to be very generous to Kadima in plum portfolios and power, to lock them into our government. You have to pay a price to get that kind of stability, and I think he would be willing to pay a heavy price," a source close to Netanyahu said. (ANI)

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