Israel headed for 'extreme right-wing' regime, Kadima's Livni says
As hardline forces coalesce, centrist seems to rule out unity government
Tzipi Livni, whose centrist Kadima party holds the most seats in a divided Israeli parliament, has told her followers they are headed for opposition status as hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu solidifies his claim to govern, Israeli newspapers reported Thursday.
Livni's chances of leading the country faded Thursday when Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, endorsed Netanyahu, who was prime minister from 1996 to 1999.
Kadima won 28 seats in the Feb. 10 election compared to 27 for Netanyahu's Likud party, but neither could command the 120-seat Knesset. Likud is now in a better position to put together a coalition with Yisrael Beiteinu and other hardline parties, although it could be weeks before a government is formed, the newspaper said.
Ehud Barack, the current defence minister, said his centre-left Labour party was headed into opposition too, the Jerusalem Post reported.
But Netanyhau said he would still appeal to Livni and Barack to join a unity government, the newspaper said.