Israeli ruling party leader Tzipi Livni said on Sunday she would recommend holding an early parliamentary election following her failure to form a new coalition to replace the outgoing government of Ehud Olmert. She was quoted by the leading Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper as saying: "When I had to decide between continued extortion and bringing forward elections, I prefered elections."
She told Maariv daily the negotiations were over: "I will not let them extort me. We will go to elections."
Opinion polls show a big lead for the right-wing opposition Likud of Benjamin Netanyahu, which also opposes much of the peace proposals Livni and Olmert have made to the Palestinians. A vote would most likely be held in late January or February 2009, more than a year ahead of schedule.
"I'm not here to survive, I'm here to lead," Livni told Maariv, ruling out her other option of trying to run the country with a government that lacked a strong parliamentary majority. "You can't extort me," she told Yedioth Ahronoth. "The good of the country is at the top of my agenda."