Rivlin: PM should have gone to Sept. 4 election

Knesset speaker says choice to form unity gov't harmed trust in politics; Hanegbi to tell Kadima activists why he left for Likud.

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311 (photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin 311
(photo credit: Courtesy: Knesset Channel)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu erred when he ended the process of initiating early elections and formed a short-lived national-unity government with Kadima, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said late Monday.
On May 7, the Knesset passed the first reading of a bill that would have initiated a September 4 election. But at 2am on May 8, Netanyahu and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz announced that Kadima would join the coalition and the process of advancing the election was put on hold.
"The prime minister made a mistake when he did not go to elections," Rivlin said in an interview with the Knesset Channel." The mistake was ethical, moral, and [harmed] the public's trust in politics."
Rivlin said Netanyahu could have won the election easily but the prime minister put the interests of the state ahead of his own.
After Kadima left the coalition, Netanyahu tried unsuccessfully to split the party in a process led by former minister Tzahi Hanegbi.
Hanegbi denied a Channel 2 report that he was still actively trying to persuade Kadima MKs to join him in leaving for the Likud.
On Thursday in Ramat Gan, Hanegbi will hold what he called "a small meeting in a small room" to explain to the activists closest to him why he made the move. Many Kadima activists are expected to follow Hanegbi back to the Likud.