Livni asks Peres for extension to form new government

Livni asks Peres for extension to form new government

Tzipi Livni asked Israeli President Shimon Peres for an extension to form a new coalition government.
The prime minister-designate since Ehud Olmert resigned his position last month, Livni visited the president at his residence in Jerusalem Monday to request the two-week extension. By law she is entitled to the extra time.
While Livni has initialed an agreement with the Labor Party, talks with two religious parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, are stalled over Shas’ insistence that child allowances be raised. The allowance provides a monthly stipend to every Israeli family per number of dependent children.
Livni says she plans to present a new government on the first day of the Knesset’s winter session, Oct. 27.
She still needs the support of other political parties to form a majority in the 120-member Knesset.
If she is unable to form a new coalition, Israel will schedule snap general elections for early next year.
And if she is susccessful, her political opponents, led by Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, will likely continue calling for new elections. Either way, polls show Netanyahu beating Livni if the two leaders meet each over in a vote.
As foreign minister, Livni, 50, has been leading U.S.-backed negotiations with the Palestinians since the November 2007 Annapolis conference and has vowed to press ahead with the peace process if she becomes prime minister.
Earlier in her career, she served as a Paris agent for the Mossad overseas intelligence agency in the 1980s during a series of missions it ran to kill Palestinian terrorists across Europe, according to the Sunday Times.
She would be Israel’s second woman prime minister after Golda Meier.