Thursday, February 12, 2009

Consensus forming on Likud-led unity gov't

From THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 12, 2009, by Gil Hoffman:

The Likud and Kadima will be able to form a government together under the leadership of Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu, on the basis of equality between the two parties, senior officials in both parties said Wednesday.

...senior Kadima officials said they were well aware that Peres would ask Netanyahu to form a government because of the Right bloc's 65-55 advantage over the Left, and that if Likud offered Kadima a sweet deal, they should take it.

Netanyahu's associates revealed that he would be willing to give Kadima the same number of ministries as the Likud, including two of the top four cabinet positions. Likud would get the premiership and the Treasury, while Kadima could be given the Foreign and Defense ministries.

"We're ready to be very generous to Kadima in plum portfolios and power, to lock them into our government," a source close to Netanyahu said. "You have to pay a price to get that kind of stability, and I think he would be willing to pay a heavy price."

While some top officials in Kadima expressed interest in such a deal, others said the party should go to the opposition in order to present itself as an alternative to Netanyahu and wait for the public to grow frustrated with the exclusively right-wing coalition that Netanyahu would be forced to form.

Netanyahu told the Likud faction on Wednesday that "if Kadima will rise above political interests and spin, and will concern itself with what is good for the country, they will join our government."

Channel 2's Amnon Abramowitz reported that Peres would actively attempt to persuade whoever he appointed to build a coalition to fulfill the will of the public by forming a national unity government.

...Speculation by political pundits that Peres will lock Livni and Netanyahu in a room until they reach agreement about serving together in a national unity government is somewhat premature, Peres's aides said.

According to Peres's spokeswoman Ayelet Frish, the president has no intention of dealing with any aspect of the new government prior to February 18, when the official election results are to be published....

Greer Fay Cashman contributed to this report.

No comments: