I've said several times that I expect whomever won the Kadima leadership primary to succeed in forming a coalition and becoming prime minister, simply because Kadima, Labor and the Pensioners would all lose badly if new elections were held. I don't recall offhand if that gets to 61 seats, but there are plenty of other parties that could be brought in through bribery (Shas) or perhaps more aggressive peace overtures (Meretz). However, Shaul Mofaz's resignation from the party
has me wondering. A case can be made that Kadima, which began as a splinter group from Likud based around confidence in the leadership and agenda of Ariel Sharon regarding Gaza, is crumbling, and that too many leftward moves could cause it to bleed backbenchers back to the Likud. Livni's challenge in building a coalition is not just to make deals, but to lay out an agenda that justifies the party's continued existence as a third way between Likud's militant nationalism and whatever Labor represents these days, one that is compelling in its own right rather than something that serves simply as a cipher people can cling to so as to retain power.
(Crossposted to American Footprints