Barak concedes defeat, refuses to rule out joining coalition

"The people have spoken," Labor leader Ehud Barak said in a concession speech after exit polls predicted that Labor was slated to win only 13-14 seats in the 18th Knesset. "Results oblige us to learn from our mistakes," Barak told supporters at party headquarters in Tel Aviv before stating his intention to return Labor to power. "I intend to leave here tonight and to begin right away to return Labor to its rightful place, Barak said. He then went on to criticize the political system that has brought about, at least according to exit polls, a political reality more fractured than any Israel has ever seen. "We must admit the truth: At the end of a grueling campaign we have finished with a shattered political system which is not conducive to stability," Barak said. "Wherever we may sit, whether in the government or the opposition, we will work to change the system of government," Barak said. "This cannot go on. It is inconceivable that the coalition be made up of a large number of parties and a large number of far-reaching compromises - sometimes too far-reaching." Meanwhile, with exit polls predicting five seats for Hatnua Hahadasha-Meretz, the party's leader Haim Oron conceded that he was disappointed with the results. "The left-wing was hit hard," Oron said. "I won't hide anything from you, our expectations were too high," he conceded. Oron declined to address whether he would join a Livni-led government if Lieberman was a part of it. Mossi Raz, No. 5 on the Meretz list said that was a moot point as it would be Likud who would form the next government. "Kadima's celebrations are premature," Raz warned. "At the end of the day it is [Binyamin] Netanyahu and Likud who will establish the next government."