Friday, February 20, 2009

Yawn. Peres Picks Bibi. Now, Let's See What Happens . . .


So far this means absolutely nothing. First, Bibi is mumbling everything he can think of in order to please anyone he might have to negotiate with to make his government, so don't start thinking that anything he is suggesting has even the slightest bit of significance.

Second, until we see the coalition he makes, all bets are off.

If Livni sticks to her guns (remember what they say about a spurned woman), then Bibi is left with Avigor Lieberman's party and a rag-tag assortment of smaller parties.

My bet is that he will try to "balance" one against the other (think divide and conquer) and he can have the most influence. So, to balance Lieberman, he will tap labor.

27 Likud
15 Yisrael B.
13 Labor

OK, now he needs to seal the majority for his coalition.

Shas is easily bought off with welfare and child allotments, so they aren't a problem as long as they don't demand the education portfolio. They already pledged their support, and they don't need to be balanced because they are basically the lap-dog of any government who gives them money. So, that's an easy 11 mandates--making a not-so-comfortable majority of 66.

With the inclusion of UTJ (4 mandates), balanced with the National Union (5 mandates), he can easily get a very strong coalition without even worrying about what the nationalist Bayit Yehudi party (3 mandates) wants in the government--which, I'm sure, is what he wants. After all, you can't carve up Israel like a Pashal Offering to the Arabs if you have to answer to a nationalist party in the government coalition!

Bayit Yehudi will probably want in, followed quickly by leaving the coalition over this or that planned expulsion of Jews (we know Bibi will do this, this is obvious. After all, how else will he qualify for his own talk-show from CNN or MSNBC after his PM position if he doesn't destroy Israel? We must understand, always, that Bibi is for Bibi. If we understand that, we will never be surprised or disappointed by anything he does.)

OK, so that gives Bibi a nice majority coalition government of 78. Then, even if Lieberman wants to leave in a huff, Bibi will still cover his tuchas with a slim margin of 4 votes for any crazy thing he can come up with.

Let's wait and see, but I bet I am right . . . (more "right" than Bibi, at least!).

Peres tasks Netanyahu with forming government,7340,L-3674886,00.html

After meeting separately with Likud chairman, Kadima leader Livni, president assigns Netanyahu with establishing next government. Netanyahu calls on Livni, Labor head Barak to join hands with him for the nation's sake

Aviad Glickman
Latest Update: 02.20.09, 15:10 / Israel News

President Shimon Peres announced Friday he has decided to task Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu with forming the next government.

"Most of the factions have expressed their desire to see a broad government being established, and I asked Mr. Netanyahu that this wish will be reflected in the makeup of the government," Peres said at a press conference in his official residence.

"The people of Israel need governmental stability in order to deal with the challenges that lie ahead," the president added.

In his speech, Netanyahu referred to the challenges facing Israel: "Iran is developing nuclear weapons and poses the greatest threat to our existence since the War of Independence. Iran's terror wings surround us from the north and south"

The Likud leader called on members of all factions, "those who recommended and those who didn't," to put all the disagreements aside and focus on the good of the state.

Netanyahu urged Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni and Labor Chairman Ehud Barak to "join hands" with him, and said that he wished to meet with the two first, for the sake of national unity.

Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni called Netanyahu later Friday and told him she was not opposed to a meeting with him. They are scheduled to meet Sunday.

Livni rejects notion of unity government
Earlier, President Peres met separately with Netanyahu and Livni after formal consultations between the president and the faction representatives have ended.

Peres urged both leaders to form a broad national unity government that will include both Likud and Kadima.

Netanyahu, who was the first to meet Peres, told the president that he understood the need for a unity government. "Immediately after you task me with forming the coalition, I will invite Kadima for negotiations," said the Likud leader.

"I'm willing to go far in order to establish such a government," he stated.

Shortly after their meeting concluded, Livni arrived at the president's residence in Jerusalem. After the meeting she said: "Whoever is willing to forsake all his values in order to sit in the coalition is unworthy to sit in that spot. There is a coalition here based on a lack of political vision, a coalition that will not allow me to exercise the way of Kadima.

"A broad coalition has no value if it does not lead the way. I cannot be a cover for a lack of way," added Livni.

Livni's associates stressed that unless Netanyahu agrees to rotation, "there's nothing to talk about."

With the culmination of the talks with Peres Thursday evening, the score stood markedly in Netanyahu's favor with 65 endorsements (from the Likud, Yisrael Beitenu, Shas, United Torah Judaism, the National Union and Habayit Hayehudi).

Meanwhile Livni garnered the support of the 28 members of her own party. Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties chose not to recommend any candidate to Peres.

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