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Report: Elections Not Imminent Unless Livni Forms New Party

“Elections aren’t in the air until Tzipi decides she’s had enough with her current position of political irrelevance and desires a new one of even greater irrelevance.”

LivniTel Aviv, March 19 – A coalition crisis has pundits predicting the demise of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government, but several experts point to clear indications that no new elections are in the offing, noting that the surest sign of such a development has not occurred: MK Tzipi Livni abandoning her previous allies to form a new political party.

Netanyahu clashed with Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon over the weekend concerning the emerging¬†entity scheduled to replace the Broadcast Authority this year. The level of vehemence and vitriol between the political rivals led to talk of impending elections halfway through the four-year term that began following the last elections in March 2014. Nevertheless, many political commentators sounded caution regarding the assumed inevitability of the government’s collapse, given that Livni has shown no indication of jumping ship from the Zionist Union alliance or her HaTnua Party, meaning that elections cannot be all that imminent.

“Bibi has seen a handful of crises so far and weathered all of them well, so I wouldn’t rush to predict new elections anytime soon,” advised Hanan Krystal of Reshet Bet radio. “Besides, elections aren’t in the air until Tzipi decides she’s had enough with her current position of political irrelevance and desires a new one of even greater irrelevance.”

Undercurrents of discontent have plagued the Coalition throughout the last two years, but none have posed a genuine threat to its integrity, at least in retrospect. In fact, it grew, with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu joining last year and providing a cushion to the razor-thin 61-59 margin it held before that point. Liberman himself has downplayed talk of elections, pointing to an additional set of factors indicating no such development is in the offing: there are no open criminal investigations against him or against prominent members of his party.

Livni, for her part, has encouraged the existing Opposition to close ranks to exploit the Coalition’s vulnerabilities around the apparent crisis, but has stopped short of abandoning the sinking ship that is the Labor-led Zionist Union. “I am here for the long haul,” she insisted in response to a reporter’s question. “Just look at my track record. In order for me to leave my party to the wolves and pursue second-fiddle status elsewhere, I have to be certain that my departure will bring in its wake a total collapse of the existing party. That has not happened yet, which means I am not preparing to leave. For now.”

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