Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Israel's two major parties on the right, Likud and Israel Beiteinu have agreed to a merger for the coming January elections:
The Likud Central Committee on Monday officially approved by a large majority the merger with Yisrael Beiteinu ahead of the coming Knesset election.
Before the open vote, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the committee delegates, who had gathered at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds.
In his speech, Netanyahu referred to recent assertions that Yisrael Beiteinu head and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had come to Likud to take Netanyahu's place in the future.
"I've heard all sorts of talk in recent days about heirs. I have news for you. I intend to lead for many more years," Netanyahu said. "I believe that at this time it is essential that the nationalist camp unite forces, and that is the reason that I asked Avigdor Lieberman to run on a single joint list with us. I want to be clear. The Likud will remain an independent party and will continue to be a nationalist and liberal party. It will continue to be a movement for all of Israel's citizens. The unity will not change Likud, but it will change the State of Israel."
The two parties will now sit down together and configure their joint lists to see which seats will be reserved for which party's candidates.
Natanyahu is setting up his governing coalition in advance because he wants a strong majority to confront Iran and other challenges in the region and to deal put Israel's new budget in place to avoid the country mimicking Europe.
It makes what was a probable win for what Netanyahu aptly called the nationalist camp victory into a certainty.