Monday, October 27, 2008
Israeli parties prepare for general elections
Livni directs associates to 'storm' November 11 municipal elections to build up party's influence ahead of nationwide vote; Labor, Likud consider options for forming Knesset roster
Israel's political parties have already begun to prepare for a probable nationwide election, this after Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni informed President Shimon Peres on Sunday that she had been unsuccessful in forming a new coalition government.Following the interview with Peres, Kadima announced that it would propose a bill shortening the waiting period for the elections.
MK Yoel Hasson has declared he will initiate the bill, calling for the holding of a general election within 90 days of the bill's proposal, rather than 111, which could be the case if the Knesset does not dissolve itself immediately.
Meanwhile Livni convened a meeting in which she promoted holding a primary election in the party in order to form a roster. The Kadima chairwoman also directed her associates to "storm" the November 11 municipal elections, with the intention of building up the party's influence within the local authorities.
Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is among those vying for a high ranking spot on the roster, and a number of Livni's top aides have publicly expressed their hopes that he would be made the chairwoman's number-two man.
Meanwhile, Likud and Labor are also preparing for general elections.
Moshe Yaalon to join Likud?
Labor has yet to decide on how it will determine its list of Knesset members ahead of the vote. Chairman Ehud Barak has expressed interest in securing a number of newcomers with a high ranking spot that would guarantee them a place in the next Knesset, and therefore may opt for canceling the party primaries and formulating the roster with the help of a special committee.
Senior Labor party officials are divided on the issue, and Barak is expected to face stiff opposition should he call to annul the primary elections.
Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel has said in the past that the primaries system was riddled with corruption and irregularities and called on all political parties to consider an alternative.
Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu has also begun consultations on preparing the party for the general elections, with senior officials postulating that the party primaries will be held in December.
Netanyahu is also in favor of securing several high ranking spots for MKs of his choice on the party's Knesset roster, but most party members would likely oppose such a move.
Netanyahu is reportedly interested in recruiting a number of senior public figures ahead of the elections, including former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon and former Likud minister Dan Meridor.
On Monday the Knesset will officially open its winter session - which may turn out to be the shortest in the country's history –with speeches from President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik and Opposition Leader Netanyahu.