JERUSALEM (JTA) — Avigdor Lieberman recommended to Israel’s president that Benjamin Netanyahu form the next government.
The controversial head of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, in a meeting Thursday morning with Shimon Peres, conditioned his recommendation on the Likud Party’s Netanyahu forming a broad coalition that includes the center-left Kadima Party, led by Tzipi Livni, which garnered one more seat than Likud in the Feb. 10 national elections. Lieberman’s party finished third.
Peres began meeting with party delegations Wednesday night to receive their recommendations to lead the government. As of Thursday, 65 Knesset members have recommended Netanyahu, including the religious parties, while Livni has received only the nomination of her own party. The left-wing Meretz Party did not nominate a candidate, and the Labor Party is expected to do the same when its delegates meet with Peres Thursday evening.
Peres is expected to call Livni and Netanyahu to a three-way meeting on Friday morning, according to reports.