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Israel’s Livni Given Extension to Form New Government

Tzipi Livni, who narrowly won the race for leadership of Israel’s Kadima party a month ago, has been granted a two-week extension, until November 3, to form a new coalition government in which she would serve as Prime Minister. She needs to find support for her coalition from 61 members of the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

Livni has already allied Kadima with the Labor Party; together they hold 48 seats in the Knesset. She’ll need to find additional support from among Israeli’s other political parties, which include the ultra-orthodox Shas, leftist Meretz and religious United Torah Judaism. If Livni fails to form the coalition, her leadership of Kadima–and her chance to be the first woman prime minister of the country since Golda Meir–would be in jeopardy, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Livni has already followed Meir’s footsteps in becoming the second-ever women to be Israeli foreign minister. She has not specifically pushed a feminist agenda (see PDF), but has been active in peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Sources:

Los Angeles Times 10/23/08; Ms. Winter 2008