As was mostly expected, Israeli President Shimon Peres formally invited former prime minister and conservative party leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a coalition government, after recent parliamentary elections left the country’s right-wing parties with the best chance to form a ruling bloc.
Still to be seen is whether Netanyahu can convince close rival Tzipi Livni, who has been acting prime minister the past several weeks, to join a unity government. Livni’s Kadima Party actually won one more seat in parliament than Netanyahu’s Likud, but Netanyahu is forming the government because, with support of other conservative parties, he has a majority in Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset.
Livni was saying no deal on Friday, that Kadima’s ideology can’t mix with Likud’s. But the fact she is scheduled to meet Netanyahu on Sunday suggested it was possible should could change her mind. Watching carefully is the Obama administration, which was neutral publicly but privately must have hoped Livni would prevail, seeing Netanyahu as less likely to concede anything further to the Palestinians and Hamas in ongoing efforts to create a lasting Middle East peace.