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Peres summons Netanyahu, Livni for coalition consultations
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21:14, February 20, 2009

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Israeli President Shimon Peres met separately on Friday morning with Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni for coalition talks.

The meetings aimed at promoting a broad national-unity coalition that would include both Likud and Kadima, according to a statement released by the presidential office.

"I understand the need for unity. Immediately after you place on me the responsibility with putting together the coalition, I will summon Kadima for negotiations," Netanyahu was quoted by local daily Yedioth Ahronoth as saying.

Netanyahu, however, would face great difficulties to persuade Livni to join his government.

Following Livni's meeting with Peres, Livni's associates said "there's nothing to talk about" unless Netanyahu agrees to rotation.

On Thursday, Livni said that "I won't be there to save Bibi (Netanyahu) from himself and his partners....He won't get us."

After the consultations with Knesset (parliament) representatives on Wednesday and Thursday, Peres found a majority of 65, all the right-wing and religious factions, supporting Netanyahu to form the coalition.

It is expected that Peres will designate Netanyahu on Sunday the task of forming the coalition, local media reported.

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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