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Archive for Sunday, October 26, 2008

PM designate to call for early elections

October 26, 2008

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— Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni has given up efforts to form a coalition government and will recommend early elections, Israeli radio stations reported Saturday night.

Israel Radio and Army Radio both said that after consulting with her advisers during the evening, Livni decided not to continue coalition talks and to tell President Shimon Peres today to call a general election, most probably in February. That would be more than a year ahead of schedule.

There was no official announcement and Livni's spokesman did not answer repeated phone calls.

The centrist Kadima party chose Livni, 50, a month ago to succeed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is stepping down amid a corruption scandal.

Opinion polls have indicated that the hawkish Likud party led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would sweep to power in an early election. He takes a harder line on peace talks with the Palestinians than Livni, who has been conciliatory toward Arab leaders and says her goal is a full peace treaty with the Palestinians as soon as possible.

Earlier Saturday, Cabinet minister Tzahi Hanegbi, Livni's point man on the coalition talks, said in a television interview that Livni would formally make her decision known to Peres today.

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