His first call will be to ...... Shaul Mofaz.
I wouldn't be at all surprised if he offers Kadima the chance to either merge with Likud or become part of his coalition, maybe even offer Mofaz a senior cabinet post like defence (He has experience with a Defence minister from a left-wing insignificant party).
His next call may well be to .... numbers 4-7 from Tzippi Livni's list and offer them the chance to join Likud. Some of them are former Likud members (Meir Sheetrit) or have a religious background (Elazar Stern), and none of them seem to have any problem changing allegiance if something better comes along.
If Bibi can get Kadima and at least a few of the Tanua members on board, that will strengthen Likud to 35 mandates or more and remove any talk about a "60-60 left-right split" (which I don't think really exists for reasons described by Life in Israel).
Bibi then has 3 possible combinations for a stable government:
- Status Quo (Likud, Bayit Hayehudi and the Charedim). This would be the easiest coalition to form as these parties are regarded as the "Right-Bloc" and as natural partners. I don't think that this is Bibi's first preference, but if other negotiations fail, it's a good fallback plan.
- A National Unity Government with Yair Lapid, Labour, and maybe Tzippi Livini. I don't think this is likely as Shelly would be foolish to join Bibi as a junior member of the coalition. She is a smart politician and would be much better off as leader of the opposition where she can formulate an alternative policy to the government which would give her a credible chance in the next election (provided that she can formulate a responsible alternative - not just scream the opposite of whatever Bibi says which was Tzippi's policy).
- Coalition with Bayit Hayehudi, Yair Lapid. This would be the first time since Shas was founded that it was not included in a government, but it actually makes a lot of sense as Likud, Yesh Atid, and Bayit Yehudi have very similar policies on the economy, housing, social issues (reforming the Rabbinate), and drafting Yeshiva students.
OK - now all I need to do is wait for Bibi to call me for advice. Bibi - if you're too busy to call, I'm providing the info for you here on this blog free of charge.