Lieberman Gives Netanyahu Key Endorsement

Ad Feedback - JERUSALEM, Israel - Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman Avigdor Lieberman, who received the third largest number of votes in Israel's February 10th elections, told President Shimon Peres Wednesday that he supports Likud party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister.

Lieberman said his recommendation was based on forming a broad coalition that included the Kadima party.

Lieberman's announcement came after party leaders representing a large majority of Knesset members (MKs) told Peres that their parties would not join a government led by Foreign Minister and Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni. In the end, only her own party recommended Livni for prime minister.

"Eleven of the 12 Knesset parties refused to recommend Livni for the post of prime minister, making it clear beyond any doubt that the only one who can form a government is Binyamin Netanyahu," Likud faction chairman Gideon Sa'ar said.

Labor chairman and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak said his party would not endorse either of the candidates for prime minister and would sit in the opposition with the ultra-left-wing Meretz party and the three Arab parties.

Both Labor and Meretz suffered big losses in the elections last Tuesday's election.

Livni, meanwhile, responded to Lieberman's endorsement of Netanyahu by hinting that she would not join a unity government.

"Politics are not only numbers, but a path," Livni said. "I will continue not only believing in our way, but also leading it, and I don't intend to become a fig-leaf for diplomatic paralysis," she said.

Despite her proclamation, President Peres plans to ask Netanyahu and Livni to meet with him on Friday.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news, Haaretz

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