Israeli President Shimon Peres chose Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to form a new Israeli government, giving Netanyahu six weeks to put together a coalition. Netanyahu is expected to form a narrow right wing government and not a broad government along with his centrist rival, Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni.
According to the AP, Peres made his announcement early Friday afternoon after holding meetings with Netanyahu and Livni. An official ceremony appointing Netanyahu was held shortly afterward.
Kadima edged out Likud in the election, capturing 28 seats to Likud's 27. But Likud is in a better position to put together a coalition because of gains by other hard-line parties.
Emerging from her meeting with Peres, Livni said she would not join a hard-line government and was prepared to sit in the opposition "if necessary." "I will not be able to serve as a cover for a lack of direction. I want to lead Israel in a way I believe in, to advance a peace process based on two states for two peoples," Livni said.
With Livni out, Netanyahu will forge a coalition with nationalist and religious parties opposed to peacemaking with the Palestinians and Israel's other Arab neighbors.