Israeli Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni suffered a blow to her efforts to build a new government Friday when the ultra-Orthodox Shas party announced it would not join her coalition. The move could push Israel closer to new national elections.
Livni has until Nov. 3 to assemble a proposed government, which must then be approved by a majority of the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
However, Livni, the nation’s current foreign minister, who narrowly won leadership of the centrist Kadima Party last month, has indicated she won’t take negotiations down to the wire. On Thursday, she gave potential partners a Sunday deadline to join a coalition.
If Livni does abandon her efforts, President Shimon Peres would decide whether to call for new elections or choose another Knesset member to try to build a viable coalition.
Livni offered no immediate comment on the Shas announcement, but a member of her camp told the Israeli daily Haaretz that her offer to the party was reasonable. Her spokesman, Gil Messing, said only that the Sunday ultimatum still stood.
via LA Times: Key party refuses to join new Israeli government