Liberman open to coalition with either Herzog, Netanyahu

Foreign minister says he was being talked into forming an alternative government till the very last minute.

December 13, 2014 14:05
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman gives a statement to the media at his Jerusalem office December 2. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is not ruling out sitting in a future coalition – whether with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Labor leader Isaac Herzog.

Personal disputes should not dictate politics, Liberman said, nor should "electoral interests." To rule somebody out (from forming a coalition) over personal issues would be wrong, he said at Israel's national theater in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

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Yisrael Beytenu was not part of the "anyone-but-Bibi" (Netanyahu) crowd, the foreign minister stated, a slogan often heard since the country's election campaign kicked off last week after the Knesset dispersed itself on Monday.

"We have to be practical" when governing, Liberman said, listing the many coalition members he has served with throughout the years, from Hatnua head Tzipi Livni to Herzog to former prime minister Ehud Olmert, with whom his base disagreed with on a host of issues.

The Yisrael Beytenu chair welcomed the new merger between the Labor Party and Hatnua, announced on Wednesday, but not without acknowledging one "big loss." In the factions' focus on rotating the role of prime minister – as part of the unity deal, Herzog would serve the first two years in the Prime Minister’s Office and Livni the remainder of the term, if the joint list wins the election – they have put other, more crucial, issues on the back burner.

"I was being talked into forming an alternative government," Liberman revealed for the first time, "from here and from here."

Until the "very last moment" – which was December 8th, when the Knesset voted 93-0 to dissolve itself and trigger the race for the next parliament – Liberman said "they tried to convince us not to initiate elections. But he refused all offers from both sides of the political spectrum.

Yisrael Beytenu, the party Liberman helms, will run independently this cycle, in its bid to break a 2009 record which saw 15 seats go to the party.

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