Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

Monitoraggio attraverso i media internazionali delle elezioni in Israele del Febbraio 2009

Kadima okays Israel Beiteinu’s demands; Bibi urges unity gov’t

Posted by Andrea Pompozzi su 16 febbraio, 2009

Feb. 16, 2009

Kadima on Monday accepted Israel Beiteinu’s list of coalition demands and Avigdor Lieberman’s party said it hoped Likud would soon follow suit.

As well as civil unions and an eased conversion process, Lieberman is also seeking to be appointed defense minister or finance minister, wants Daniel Friedmann to stay in the justice portfolio, strongly advocates electoral reform and wants the next coalition committed to toppling Hamas in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu urged Kadima to join a national unity government.

Speaking at a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu said that in light of the “many threats the nation faces” there was no time to waste in forming a government “with our natural partners.”

He said the people had chosen a “path of strength” and had rejected the “current government’s way.”

Nevertheless, Netanyahu said that as well as forming a government with Likud’s natural coalition partners, he intended to appeal to other parties, “especially Kadima” and tell them that due to the threats Israel faced, a national unity government was required.

Meanwhile, two days before Shimon Peres is set to announce his decision over who will form the next government, the president said on Monday that he intended to “abide by the people’s will and take the election results into account lawfully and with integrity.”

Speaking during a tour at a Beersheba high school, Peres was asked by a twelfth-grader whether he’d impose a national unity government on Livni and Netanyahu. An amused Peres responded: “On Wednesday at 6 p.m. I will get the official results; until then, I hesitate to discuss the topic even with myself, for fear that my thoughts would leak to the press and be misinterpreted.”

Another student asked the president about his stance regarding a possible change of Israel’s electoral system. “I believe that the many hues of Israel’s society can be represented by a large party and I am therefore in favor of changing the electoral system,” Peres replied, elaborating on some of the possibilities. “The elections can become regional instead of national, and the threshold can be raised beyond the current two percent,” he said.

Earlier Monday, MK Stas Misezhnikov, head of Israel Beiteinu’s negotiating team, confirmed that the party would demand one of the three top ministries – Defense, Foreign or Finance.

However, he said that portfolio allocation was not yet on Israel Beiteinu’s agenda, since neither Likud nor Kadima had responded to its list of coalition demands.

Speaking to Israel Radio, Misezhnikov said Israel Beiteinu would not rule out sitting with haredi parties in the government, saying Shas understood that it would not have “veto power” on civil matters.

Sources close to Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman, who is on a vacation in Minsk until Wednesday, had said late Sunday that the head of Israel’s third biggest party would want to serve as either defense or foreign minister.

Reportedly, Netanyahu would offer Lieberman to serve as finance minister. Netanyahu and Livni both expect Peres to entrust them with building the new government. Livni’s Kadima is the largest party in the next Knesset with 28 seats, while Likud, trailing Kadima by only one mandate, is the largest party in the right-wing bloc, comprised of approximately 65 Knesset seats in all.

On Sunday, the impasse between Livni and Netanyahu intensified when Livni said she would not join a government under his leadership and hinted that the least she would accept was a rotation whereby they would each serve as prime minister for two years. But Netanyahu has made it clear that to bring Kadima into a government led by him, he would offer anything except for the premiership itself.

Lieberman is traditionally labeled as right-of-Likud in his politics, despite some policy aspects considered ultra-liberal in Israel, such as his insistence on institutionalizing civil marriage and a bid to ease conversion laws. He indicated on election night that he would “naturally” prefer a right-wing government, but has nevertheless refused to publicly eschew the prospect of joining a coalition led by Kadima.

In the current possible scenarios, Lieberman could be king-maker in either a Likud- or Kadima-led government. Livni, leading a bloc of less than 50 MKs (discounting the anti-Zionist Arab parties), would need Lieberman to gain a Knesset majority; while Netanyahu’s prospect of a narrow, right-wing coalition of 65 MKs, assuming Kadima would not agree to enter a government with him, already includes Israel Beiteinu in the count.

A senior Israel Beiteinu official said Sunday that in a meeting between Netanyahu and Lieberman last week, Netanyahu said he would be willing to be very flexible regarding which portfolio Lieberman could receive.

However, in the prospect of a Likud-Kadima unity government, the top two portfolios of Defense and Foreign Affairs would go to Kadima leader Livni and No. 2 Shaul Mofaz. This would leave the Finance Ministry as the most heavyweight portfolio Lieberman could get. However, Israel Beiteinu sources said Lieberman was not at all interested in the Finance portfolio.

Nevertheless, speaking to Israel Radio on Monday morning, MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) expressed confidence that Israel Beiteinu would join a Netanyahu-led government, but he stressed that portfolio allocation would only be discussed after the president had decided who to entrust with building the coalition.

MK Tzahi Hanegbi (Kadima) told the radio station that a Likud-Kadima unity government could only be formed if there was complete equality between the two major coalition partners, including a prime ministerial rotation.

Hanegbi said that Kadima members could not be seduced with ministries to get them to agree to give up on their demands and sit in a Likud-led coalition.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report




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