Leaders of Israel’s two main political parties – Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party, which favours the creation of a fully autonomous Palestinian state, and Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, which does not – both claimed victory in Israeli elections yesterday. Kadima’s 28 seats and Likud’s 27 are well short of the 61 seats needed to form a government, meaning that a coalition must be cobbled together with other parties. Right-wing parties have dramatically improved their standing in this election. But Aluf Benn a columnist for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, argues that Kadima and the Labour party must formally merge. Their combined 41 seats would create a dominant party of the centre-left committed to working toward a negotiated peace with both the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbour Syria.