Kadima not joining gov’t despite flotilla crisis

Livni says makeup of coalition must change for her party to consider unity government.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
June 4, 2010 05:02
1 minute read.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni

Tzipi Livni 311 Ariel J. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Kadima leader Tzipi Livni on Thursday ruled out her party joining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition in its current form, despite the crisis over the Gaza flotilla raid.

Army Radio reported that the Likud would make a new effort to persuade at least part of Kadima to join the coalition. But Likud officials involved in previous efforts to widen the coalition denied the report.

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“Whether we join depends on the policy and the makeup of the coalition,” Livni told Army Radio. “Netanyahu formed his government not to advance processes but for the collective survival of the parties in his coalition. That’s his choice. Until now he still hasn’t changed his mind. He has to make decisions on the diplomatic front now, not the political one.”

Ynet reported late Thursday night that Labor chairman Ehud Barak met with Livni a few weeks ago at a private home and discussed political issues, including the possibility of changing the makeup of the coalition. Barak’s spokesman downplayed the report.

Earlier on Thursday, Kadima MK Ze’ev Bielski called upon Netanyahu to restructure his coalition due to the international condemnation of the naval raid. Bielski stressed that he did not want Kadima to join at the expense of other parties and not to expand an already wide coalition.

“In light of the difficult situation that Israel has fallen to a year after the formation of the Likud-Lieberman government, Israel’s image in the free world must be rehabilitated immediately,” Bielski said. “I call upon Netanyahu to foster national unity among the people of Israel. Everyone must show responsibility and take steps to restore Israel to its natural position among the family of nations.”

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller, who has been calling for Kadima to join the government nonstop over the past year, praised Bielski and called upon Kadima’s leaders to support the initiative.

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