Lieberman: I prefer rightist coalition

Israel Beiteinu leader says his top priority for the next government is to topple Hamas in Gaza.

lieberman after victory 248.88 (photo credit: )
lieberman after victory 248.88
(photo credit: )
Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman refused to endorse either Kadima leader Tzipi Livni or Likud head Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night, saying rather that his party would be open to hearing from all factions involved in forming the next coalition, but that his party would never give up its core principles. "We truly hope that one of the dramatic changes in the next government will be a change in the electoral system," Lieberman said following the exit polls. "We will be open to hearing what others say on this topic." "We've turned into a significant party, the third largest in Israel," Lieberman said. "It's true that Tzipi Livni won a surprise victory. But what is more important is that the right-wing camp won a clear majority... We want a right-wing government. That's our wish and we don't hide it." "The main argument today is not only over borders, but rather over the character of the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state," he continued. "These three things must be intertwined." "We have a way and principles, and we don't plan to give them up," Lieberman said, adding that the most important thing on his agenda was that the new government be decisive in its actions against terror. In what may prove a twist for coalition talks as ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas move into an advanced stage, Lieberman firmly stated that his party would never join a government which permitted Hamas to rule the Gaza Strip. "We will not agree either directly or indirectly to [Hamas staying] in power," the Israel Beiteinu leader said. "It doesn't matter which government is established." "Our first goal is clear, to destroy Hamas, to take it down," he stated. "Seven years in a row we wake up every morning, go to sleep every evening, with the news of a new Kassam attack," Lieberman said. "That must end." "Whoever wants to see us as a partner in the government must change their policies," he concluded. Israel Beiteinu was predicted to win 15 mandates in the election, to become the third largest party in the Knesset.