JERUSALEM, Israel - With the winter session of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) beginning next week, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni decided to forfeit the second half of her two-week extension to form a new government, saying instead she'll announce a decision Sunday.
"Decisions need to be made by Sunday," Livni told Kadima faction members, "and then we will know whether we'll have a government or elections."
"I informed the president that I will be coming to him on Sunday, and we'll [have] decided between elections and a government," she said. "If we go to elections, we'll win," Livni said.
Negotiations with the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, United Torah Judaism, consisting of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel; and the Pensioners Party have all hit snags. On Friday morning, Shas chairman Eli Yishai announced that his party would not be joining the government.
Other than Labor, the first party to join the coalition, only the ultra-Orthodox Meretz party is willing to sign up with Livni's government.
"The question now is not whether Meretz will join Livni's government, but rather whether a government will be formed," MK (member of Knesset) Haim Oren, the party's chairman, said.
MK Gideon Sa'ar, Likud faction chairman, said in the weeks of negotiations, "all Livni has accomplished is to prevent the people of Israel from deciding who will lead them in general elections."
"We hope that by Sunday, Livni understands the obvious: No stable, strong and functioning government capable of handling the serious challenges facing the State of Israel can come out of these negotiations. Such a government will be possible only after general elections," Sa'ar said.
Sources: YNet news, The Jerusalem Post