Monday, October 23, 2006

Israel brings center right nationalist party into government

Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert made a major change in his ruling coaliton today, and one that could see a major change in israeli policies.

Today, Olmert and party leader Avigdor Lieberman agreed that the Israel Beiteinu party will join the government coalition.

Israel Beiteinu (`Israel our home') is a center right nationalist party with a large Russian emigre' component that won 11 seats in the last election. Lieberman's party platform, among other things, calls for annexing Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria and trading them to the Palestinians for largely Arab populated areas of Israel in the Northern Galilee.

Lieberman will reportedly be given the posts of Vice Premier and Minister for Strategic Affairs, which will focus on Iran.

It was speculated that Lieberman will also receive the chairmanship for the Knesset's Finance Committee.

This, aside from shoring up Olmert's government on the security end means that he will not have to continue to clear everything with Peretz and the Leftist Labor Party. As Olmert himself said: "I decided that the present makeup of the coalition would not be enough to maintain a stable government...I think that Labor will be wise enough to remain in the government because I was not prepared to continue dealing with a situation in which every important coalition vote required negotiations with another coalition MK."

It also symbolizes a turn to the Right in Israeli politics...existential threats have a way of doing that.

In another related development, Olmert and his cabinet signed on to Lieberman's proposal for a major change in the way Israel governs itself from a parliamentary system to US style. It would entail US style presidential rule rather than the current parliamentary system, although the chief executive would still be called the prime minister. This has been submitted to the Knesset for a vote.


Anonymous said...

would the legislative system change as well? a two house system?
do the knesset(sp) members have term limits?
will the new system have term limits?

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Louie,
I'm not cetain of the mechanics.