Livni’s party had a disappointing performance in the election, winning just six seats in the 120-member parliament. With little leverage, Livni appeared eager to reach a deal to enter the Cabinet. Even so, she insisted she would not join Netanyahu’s government unless she was convinced he was serious about pursuing peace.
‘‘The commitment to the peace process and the trust we were given that we would fight for it led to this partnership — a partnership that blossomed after I was given the authority to negotiate on behalf of the Israeli government with a goal of ending the conflict with the Palestinians based on two nation-states,’’ she said.
In addition to her peacemaking role, Livni will also serve as justice minister. Her party colleague, former Labor Party leader Amir Peretz, is slated to become environment minister.
Since the Jan. 22 election, Netanyahu has struggled to form a coalition. His Likud-Yisrael Beitenu bloc won 31 seats, making it the largest faction in parliament but far short of the needed 61-seat majority. With Livni, he now controls 37 seats, still well below the majority.
The addition of Livni could now encourage other potential partners to fall in line.
But his two largest potential partners, the centrist ‘‘Yesh Atid’’ and the pro-settler ‘‘Jewish Home,’’ have been driving a hard bargain. Without the support of at least one of them, it will be virtually impossible to secure a majority. Netanyahu has until mid-March to form a government.