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Kadima leader Tzipi Livni called on Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday night to join a Kadima-led coalition, rather then trying to form a right-wing government.
With 99.7 percent of the votes counted by 7:00 a.m., Kadima was narrowly leading Likud with a predicted 28 mandates, while the latter had garnered a predicted 27 seats, but it appeared that the Likud-led right-wing would constitute the larger bloc.
Addressing supporters at the party's headquarters in Tel Aviv, Livni declared victory in the elections. "The people have chosen - Kadima," she said to applause.
"I call out to Binyamin Netanyahu tonight," she said. "I proposed to you before the elections were set to join a unity government under my leadership...you refused, saying that the people must decide. Today the people decided - Kadima."
"Now all that is left is to do the right thing, to honor the decision of the citizens of Israel, to do what is right for Israel at this timeâ€¦and to join a unity government led by us," Livni said.
"Today I hear talk of camps again. Ladies and gentlemen, I entered politics when camps were fighting a bitter war between themselves. The 'Eretz Israel' camp and the 'peace camp,' and today I hear the name 'National Camp' [referring to the right-wing bloc]," Livni said.
"'Eretz Israel' does not belong to the Right, just as peace does not belong to the Left," she said.