Kadima appears set to split as MKs take positions in gov´t (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 07/23/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appeared to have obtained the seven
Kadima MKs needed to bring about a split in the party, in late-night
meetings on Sunday.
He has been trying for three years to split Kadima, and his efforts
have borne fruit in meetings with its lawmakers over the past two
Such a split could help Netanyahu widen his coalition again, pass the
2013 state budget, and avoid early elections.
Knesset House Committee chairman Yariv Levin was told to get ready to
approve a split in Kadima as early as Monday.
Past attempts to split Kadima were unsuccessful because they lacked
But this time, Netanyahu is relying on former minister Tzachi
Hanegbi, who is angry at Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz for removing the
party from the coalition and who has been trying to persuade seven
Kadima MKs to leave together with him to the Likud.
While Hanegbi, who is not currently in the Knesset, has reportedly
been promised a cabinet position in Netanyahu’s government, his
perjury conviction two years ago could prevent him from receiving the
Mofaz accused Netanyahu of “stooping to the lowest kind of political
As of press time Sunday, the MKs who had confirmed that they wanted
to leave Kadima for the Likud were Otniel Schneller, Ya’acov Edri,
Arieh Bibi, Avi Duan and Yulia Shamolov Berkovich. Under the deal in
the making, Bibi, who is a former chief of the Jerusalem police, will
be deputy public security minister, while Duan, who is a veteran
social worker, will be deputy welfare and social services minister.
Schneller said he was sure he could find at least two more MKs to
leave with them.
“We will surprise you,” he said. “We are in a process of talking. I
don’t want to say names yet, because it’s sensitive and real.”
When asked specifically about former Kadima leadership candidate Avi
Dichter, Schneller said that “when the train comes, he will have to
decide whether to get on or get left behind.”
Schneller said the latest the move could take place would be next
“I think whoever doesn’t leave this week or next will be stuck in the
used-up cigarette butt that Kadima has become,” Schneller said.
“Kadima in the next term won’t be in its current form. It has
finished its path with the help of [former Kadima heads] Tzipi Livni
and Ehud Olmert, who are working from outside to make sure the party
doesn’t survive. Mofaz will pay the price for his mistake of entering
the coalition only as a show in order to leave for no reason and slam
the door behind him.”
Edri called the Likud his “political home” and his current Kadima
party a mess. He said he knew that he would return to the Likud
eventually, but he was not sure when.
One possibility that is unlikely is that seven MKs from Kadima’s
Right and Left flanks will break off from the party together and then
split again. The MKs on the Left, who are loyal to Livni, said she
would not want them to take such a step.
“We wouldn’t join with the MKs on the Right in a split, because we
don’t want to strengthen Netanyahu,” MK Shlomo Molla said. “No one
with integrity could do something like that. The Right will have to
find seven MKs on its own.”
Another Kadima lawmakers said he was willing to leave Kadima in the
past but he now thinks Netanyahu is vulnerable and could be defeated
if the party stays together.
“If they had seven, I am sure they would have left by now,” the MK
said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/23/12)
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