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Livni: Israel chose Kadima, we will form the next government

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Tzipi Livni gains ground in Israeli election polls

Tzipi Livni gains ground in Israeli election polls

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

Tags: israel news

As results from Israel’s general elections began trickling in late Tuesday, the two front-runners – Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu – both proclaimed themselves to be the next choice for premiership.

Livni, whose party scored between 29 and 30 seats in television exit polls, praised the results, saying: “Israel has chosen Kadima and we will form the next government.”

Exit polls on three Israeli television channels showed Kadima retaining around its present 29 seats in the 120-seat, single-chamber Knesset, with Likud two seats behind. At Kadima’s campaign headquarters, Livni supporters cheered and danced.
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Netanyahu, whose Likud party scored fewer than its opponent with 27 and 28 seats in exit polls, said: “I will be the next prime minister of Israel.”

Benjamin Netanyahu will be the next prime minister,” the right-wing Likud echoed its chairman’s words in a statement after the voting ended.

“The results of the election proved that the path of the Likud and the national camp won,” it said, referring to exit poll projections that a bloc of right-wing parties would secure enough votes for a parliamentary majority and Livni’s centrist Kadima would fall short.

However, some analysts noted that soldiers, whose votes could account for a couple of seats, had not been counted in exit polls and that could favor Netanyahu as tallying continues through into Wednesday.

One television station put the right-left split at 64 seats for the right to 56 for the left, which could deny Livni the premiership and persuade President Shimon Peres to ask Netanyahu to try to form a coalition government.

Likud members were quick to stress that Kadima’s apparent win did not mean it would necessarily be chosen to form the next coalition.

“I am certain that Netanyahu will be the next prime minister,” said Likud lawmaker Gilad Erdan. “Netanyahu has a clear advantage because the right wing parties have a larger bloc. The test is not which party gets the most votes, but which candidate has the best chance to form a coalition, and that person is Benjamin Netanyahu.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, phoned Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman just after the exit polls were released, apparently to discuss the future of the next coalition.

Former minister Silvan Shalom, another member of Likud, said Kadima was “delusional” to declare such a quick win. A government led by Livni was unrealistic, said Shalom, adding that Likud was the obvious choice for leading the next government.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima) responded to Shalom by saying: “Tzipi Livni is the leader of the State of Israel from today until the next Knesset elections.”

Finance Minister Roni Bar-On called on Yisrael Beiteinu Chair Avigdor Lieberman’s, whose party won approximately 15 seats in the exit polls, to jump onto the Kadima bloc as avoid “committing suicide in the opposition alongside Benjamin Netanyahu. Yvette [Avigdor] Lieberman is a Zionist and an appropriate candidate for every position in Tzipi Livni’s government.”

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Written by MiamiFoodie

February 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Posted in Middle East

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