Israel’s Livni Gives Up on Coalition; Calls for Vote

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called off efforts to forge a new governing coalition on Saturday and will recommend holding an early national election after a key party backed out of talks, a political source said.

Israeli media said the decision made by Livni, the designated successor to scandal-hit outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, would mean elections could be expected in February. The next parliamentary poll had been scheduled for 2010.

An early Israeli election could kill off the already slim chances of meeting Washington’s objective of an Israeli peace deal with Palestinians before…George W. Bush leaves office in January.

Livni had huddled with advisers a day after the religious Shas party bowed out of coalition talks, citing objections to dividing Jerusalem for peace and welfare spending policies.

A political source said afterwards that Livni "decided to opt for elections." She will meet with President Shimon Peres on Sunday and tell him "we couldn’t give in to political blackmail and we should hold elections," the source said.

via Reuters UK: Israeli election seen after Livni calls off talks


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