Livnis Hatnua signs coalition deal with Likud

Hatnua, led by Tzipi Livni, became the first party to sign a coalition deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The deal signed Feb. 19 comes nearly a month after national elections, after which President Shimon Peres tapped Netanyahu to form a new coalition government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and leader of the Hatnua party, Tzipi Livni, shake hands after their coalition agreement on Feb. 19. photo/flash90-miriam alster

Under the agreement, Livni will serve as justice minister, be a member of the security cabinet and head future peace talks with the Palestinians.

The former opposition leader’s new party won six seats in the 19th Knesset. Hatnua reportedly also will receive the Environmental Protection Ministry in the new government.

“Two-and-a-half months ago my colleagues and I formed Hatnua, and we vowed to fight for a diplomatic agreement, even if it doesn’t pay off politically,” Livni told reporters after signing the agreement. “This led to a partnership with the prime minister after I was permitted to negotiate with the aim of ending the conflict with the Palestinians.”

Livni is a former Israeli foreign minister and a former head of the Kadima party.

Netanyahu must form a government by the end of the month. — jta