Jerusalem – Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who succeeded embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as head of the ruling Kadima Party, has decided that she would opt for early elections, and the political establishment found itself facing three options from which to choose.

As soon as Ms. Livni informs Israeli President Shimon Peres she has failed to form a coalition, the president can announce new elections within 90 days. Since Knesset elections are always held on a Tuesday, the closest date for elections is Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, one week after the inauguration of the new American president. This scenario is considered the most likely to play itself out.

The factions in the Knesset must reach an agreement about a date for new elections within five months and pass a bill to dissolve the 17th Knesset. Legal analysts said that once the president announces elections within 90 days, it is no longer possible to introduce a bill to dissolve the Knesset, but the likelihood of a bill to dissolve the Knesset happening is low.

By law, the president is entitled to impose the task of forming a government on another Knesset member, provided he is convinced that this MK has a chance of succeeding at that task. Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu has already ruled out the possibility that he might be party to “such a ploy,” as he referred to it. Aside from Mr. Netanyahu, it is hard to see anyone else in the current Knesset who might have the ability to secure a 61 MK majority. Incidentally, the president cannot ask Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak to form a government since Mr. Barak is not a member of the Knesset. Again, analysts say the likelihood of this happening is low.

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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