Kadima race leaves key Knesset positions in balance (JERUSALEM POST) By LAHAV HARKOV 03/27/12)
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The chairmanship of two key Knesset committees hangs in the balance
ahead of Tuesdayís Kadima race.
Kadima leadership hopeful MK Shaul Mofaz is the chairman of the
Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, a job usually given to
a coalition lawmaker, while MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud) heads the
Economics Committee, which is traditionally an opposition post. Likud
and Kadima are meant to trade committees by the Knessetís summer
session, which begins at the end of April.
While Likud sources say the party would be happy to leave the
committees as they are, the final decision will likely depend on
whether Mofaz or Livni wins the primary.
Sources in Mofazís camp have denied rumors that the Foreign Affairs
and Defense Committee chairman has promised to give his position to
MK Avi Dichter (Kadima), in return for Dichter quitting the Kadima
race and endorsing Mofaz.
Other sources said that Mofaz would continue to head the Foreign
Affairs Committee even if he becomes the next leader of Kadima, so he
could use it as a platform to speak out against Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu on security issues, as he has done in the past.
Both Mofaz and Livni could use the Economics Committee to their
political advantage, giving the chairman position as an appreciative
gesture to allies or a way to placate opponents within Kadima.
Should the Economics Committee remain in the Likudís hands, Shama-
Hacohen may have to fight to defend his seat. At the beginning of
this Knesset, MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) was chairman of the key
committee, which deals with topics such as transportation,
communications, consumer issues and others.
While Shama-Hacohen is supposed to step down before the summer
session, Netanyahu could give him an extra four months, since Akunis
served in the position four months longer than planned.
Shama-Hacohen is seen as one of the more sociallyminded Likud
legislators, which could help boost the Likudís image in the next
elections. However, he has also spoken out against the coalition on
related issues, such as gas and housing prices.
Akunis, on the other hand, is both very close and very loyal to
Netanyahu, and caused less ďtroubleĒ as chairman of the Economics
With all of these factors at play, the outcome is still unclear, but
some sort of committee chairmanship shuffle can be expected at the
end of next month. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 03/27/12)
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