Livni to call for elections

Livni to call for electionsTel Aviv - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni plans to call for new elections after unsuccessful efforts to form a government, local media reports said.

Livni, the leader of the ruling Kadima party, was to inform President Shimon Peres at a planned meeting on Sunday afternoon that talks to form a new government have failed.

She reached the decision after intensive talks with party members.

The ultra-Orthodox Shas party announced Friday that it would not join a coalition led by Livni. Shas' decision, which came after Livni issued an ultimatum late Thursday, dealt a serious blow to her efforts to form a government by early next week.

Livni said Shas had until Sunday to accept her final offer and join a government led by her.

Livni was elected Kadima leader in September 17 primaries, held to find a replacement for Ehud Olmert, who resigned the premiership and party leadership to fight corruption charges.

Olmert's resignation, under Israeli law, means the automatic resignation of his entire cabinet as well, which has become a transitional government that continues to be led by Olmert until a new government is formed or early elections are held, probably by March, a year ahead of schedule. (dpa)