Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Likud Shaping Up: Kadima MK's heading to split of Kadima

( The Likud’s efforts to divide the party that caused the Likud’s own division four years ago appear to be successful.

Though most of the main players in the anticipated political shake-up are publicly denying it, it appears that seven Kadima MKs – the minimum necessary for an official breakaway from the party – are strongly considering splitting off, forming their own faction, and then joining the Likud in one way or another.

Party leader Tzipi Livni, who is also leads the Opposition in the Knesset, has met with some of the MKs who are said to be interested in leaving. It is not known how her efforts to convince them to remain in the party were received.

The Livni-led Opposition in fact withdrew a proposed no-confidence motion in the government this week, because of the tense and ongoing negotiations for the exchange of hundreds of terrorists for abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.

Among the Kadima MKs mentioned as possible Kadima breakaways are Otniel Schneller, Ruhama Avraham-Belila, Yaakov Edri, Zev Boim, Eli Aflalo, Marina Solodkin. MK Schneller has said recently, “The issue of joining the Likud is complex and not simple.”

Others, such as former Likudniks Belila-Avraham and Edri, have denied the story more strenuously. The former said that Netanyahu would have an easier time getting all of Kadima to join the government than just parts thereof.

Despite this, many in the political establishment say that the deal has basically been concluded and that it is just a matter of time before it happens. Netanyahu has apparently offered ministerial portfolios to three of the seven, deputy minister-ships to another three, and the head of a Knesset committee to the last one.

In addition, Netanyahu is promising that he will ensure their political future within the Likud – though it is obvious that the results of Central Committee votes for positions on future lists of Likud Knesset candidates cannot be guaranteed.