Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed willingness to form a broad-based coalition with center-left parties, but claimed they have negated the possibility in advance.
Netanyahu’s statements, made on Saturday in snippets of a Channel 2 interview to be broadcast in full on Monday, came after Labor Party leader Shelly Yachimovich rejected the possibility of joining a Likud party-led government. Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid also initially said he would not be the “fifth wheel” in a right-wing/ultra Orthodox coalition, but later called for his and other center-left parties to join Netanyahu’s government to the exclusion of far-right and religious parties.
The prime minister was responding to the latest attempt by Hatnua party leader Tzipi Livni to form a bloc against Netanyahu with Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Labor, saying he was “prepared [to form] a broad coalition, but they reject it out of hand.”
When asked whether he would prefer to form a more centrist government or one including religious and far-right wing parties, he responded: “I have not yet been elected, but I very much hope to be elected. I want a broad government that would be built first and foremost on the large ruling party of Likud-Beytenu.”
Regarding the inclusion of Lapid, Yachimovich, or Livni in a future government, he said he did not dismiss the possibility — but, rather, they had dismissed the possibility of joining him.
“Whoever wants to join us will need, of course, to go in the diplomatic and economic direction that I think is responsible and proves itself,” he said.
Netanyahu conceded the possibility of appointing Livni a minister in his potential future government, but said that he alone would dictate the government’s relationship with the Palestinians. As for Yachimovich, he said her appointment to such a position would depend entirely on her.