Sharon to Consolidate Three-Party Coaltiton
Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon moved to consolidate a three-party coalition of Likud, Labor and Shas, with the possible addition of two former Center Party MKs Dan Meridor and Ronni Milo, to make a 64-seat coalition, reported Haaretz newspaper.
Likud has 19 seats, Labor has 26, and Shas, with 17 seats, said the paper, adding that Milo and Meridor would bring the coalition to 64.
Sharon decided Wednesday during consultations with his negotiators to stop waiting for the three junior right-wing parties - Yisrael b'Aliya, National Union-Yisrael Beitenu, and the National Religious Party - to lower their expectations for portfolios, according to the paper.
“He wants to turn the tables and present to the aspirants a stable coalition that will force them to lower their demands for portfolios and changes in the guidelines,” a source close to Sharon told Haaretz.
The source was furious over what he called "the extortionist demands by some of the small factions, most of all, Yisrael b'Aliya."
According to the source, Sharon did not decide to establish a national unity government so as to be blackmailed by the smallest parties in the coalition.
Likud sources said the Russian immigrant party under Natan Sharansky had gone too far in demanding either the interior ministry or the foreign ministry, said Haaretz.
"They demanded national unity and now they are ready to break it all up," said a Likud source.
"What was good enough for them in Ehud Barak's government should be good enough for them in Sharon's. We are not going to have 40 ministers. If they want, we can go to the polls again. We aren't forcing anyone to join the government," another source said.
Meanwhile, AFP reported that Labor minister, Shimon Peres was assured that he will get the foreign ministry portfolio.
"Shimon Peres is assured of being the Labor candidate for the post of foreign minister because he is the only one to have presented his candidacy at the 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) deadline," said Danny Biran, spokesman for Labor secretary-general, Raanan Cohen – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
- Israeli Labor Party to Choose its Ministers in Sharon’s Government Friday
- Likud-Labor Teams Scheduled to Meet Thursday for Unity Government Talks
- Likud-Labor Coalition Talks End Monday with Slimmer Chances of Success
- Peres: I will not Run for Labor Leadership
- Sharon Threatens to Exclude Labor Party from National Government