Thursday, February 28, 2013
‘Obama will cancel visit if no new Israeli coalition by March 16′
On Saturday night, Netanyahu will have used up the 28 days he was given by Peres to form a government, and he has scheduled a meeting with the president at which he will be granted a 14-day extension, taking him through to March 16. No further extension is legally permitted.
As of Thursday night, with his various potential coalition partners deeply at odds, Netanyahu had signed up only Tzipi Livni’s six-seat Hatnua party to his coalition, and the differences between the other parties appeared very hard to reconcile. But were Netanyahu to decide to exclude the ultra-Orthodox parties, however reluctantly, his Likud-Beytenu party (31 seats) could expect to finalize coalition terms with Yesh Atid (19 seats) and Jewish Home (12 seats) fairly rapidly, and thus gain a governing majority. In that way, he would safeguard both his prime ministership and the Obama visit.