Monday, April 03, 2006

The latest on Israeli politics..Labor and Kadima sparring

According to Israeli law, the party with the most seats won in the Knesset has a certain amount of time to form a government if there is no majority.

In Israel's case, a major contretemps has erupted between acting PM Ehud Olmert of Kadima and Labor Chairman Amir Peretz as both are attempting to take power by creating a majority coalition!

Kadima has 29 seats to Labor's 19, but coalition is everything, and it has made for some odd partnerships, to say the least as the deals get made.

Peretz is actually approaching the religious and right parties like Likud in an attempt to circument Olmert, while Olmert is courting the far left Meretz and perhaps even the Arab parties.

Support for Peretz by the religious and Right parties will depend on a pledge by Peretz that any decision that the government reaches regarding a West Bank withdrawal will be put to referendum.

Peretz could in fact put together a Kadima-free majority consisting of Labor(19 seats), Likud (12 seats), NU/NRP (9 seats), Shas(12 seats), United Torah Judaism(9 seats), and Gil(7 seats).Israel Beiteinu, with an additional 11 seats might also be persuaded to join for assurances on withdrawals and the right price.

Kadima could also exclude Labor and create a coalition consisting of Kadima, Gil, UTJ, Shas and Israel Beiteinu, for a total of 65 seats.

Either combination would move the Israeli government towards the right, as is to be expected when the vote was so clearly divided.

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