Lieberman endorses Netanyahu

The head of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party has publically backed Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu to be the next prime minister of Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman told President Shimon Peres today that his party - which holds 15 seats in the Knesset - would endorse the Likud chairman, providing he could create a broad coalition.

Mr Lieberman said the options were “a broad government, which is what we want. A narrow government, that will be a government of paralysis, but we don’t rule out sitting in it.

“And the third option is going to elections, which will achieve nothing.”

Although Kadima leader Tzipi Livni won 28 seats in the February 10 elections, as opposed to Likud’s 27, Mr Lieberman’s decision increases Mr Netanyahu’s chances of becoming the next Israeli leader.

Mr Peres will continue holding consultations with the other Knesset factions throughout the day today.

    Last updated: 11:11am, February 19 2009