Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Adar 5766 - March 29, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Opinion & Comment
Politica: Dividing the Spoils

By E. Rauchberger

Kadima began dividing the spoils even before the elections. Mofaz is thoroughly convinced he will be appointed Defense Minister in the next term as well, and former GSS head Avi Dichter will have to content himself with the internal security portfolio or an economic or social portfolio.

The Defense Ministry could also go to Dan Meridor. Olmert and Meridor go way back and a few weeks ago this possibility was raised in a conversation between the two.

Avraham Hirchson, formerly chairman of the Finance Committee and today Transportation Minister, has his sights set on the Finance Ministry. Olmert would also very much like it to go to Hirchson, his closest ally, but he also knows he may wind up having to give it to his coalition partner — Amir Peretz, for example, or perhaps even Avigdor Lieberman.

Nor is Meir Shetreet, who served six months as Finance Minister and 18 months as a Minister Without Portfolio in the Finance Ministry, out of the running.

Tzippi Livni is convinced that no matter how Kadima puts together a coalition, the Foreign Affairs Ministry will remain in her hands because Olmert promised it to her.

Peres will receive the kind of portfolio he had under Sharon (Vice Prime Minister, Negev and Galilee Development and some sort of responsibility for an area of Palestinian relations) and all those who are currently serving as ministers (except for Tzachi Hanegbi), with the addition of Reichman (maybe) and Ramon, would also serve as ministers in the Kadima government.

Reichman is sure he will receive the education portfolio as Olmert's staff recently told him, but everybody knows that after the elections if Olmert has to sacrifice Reichman on the coalition altar due to a veto of the former Shinui Council Chairman's candidacy by the chareidi parties, Olmert would do so without batting an eyelid.

Reichman does not have people working for him and lacks political power. Before the elections he had some power because Kadima wanted to draw former Shinui voters, but now his political weight is negligible and a seasoned politician like Olmert is well aware of the situation.

The Labor Party also longs to secure the Education portfolio for its candidate, Yuli Tamir, who is closely associated with Amir Peretz. Labor recently announced that the Education Ministry would be an ultimatum for participation in any coalition, making Reichman's chances of getting the post very slim.

Roni Bar-On wants the Justice Ministry portfolio in order to come full circle by having the man who didn't want him as Attorney General (Bar-On—Chevron) accept him for the post of Justice Minister. But relations between him and Olmert have been correct at best, therefore it seems doubtful that his hopes will be realized. Today he is serving as Infrastructure Minister and if he winds up keeping the post it should be seen as a substantial achievement.

The Justice Ministry could also go to a coalition partner, although the chances are not very great, primarily due to recent revelations against Olmert. If the portfolio stays in Kadima certainly Chaim Ramon would not refuse the job if were offered.

Olmert's task of assembling a coalition will not be easy. He cannot afford to hurt people along the way if he wants to keep the predictions that Kadima is a one-term party destined to disband, from coming true, for creating a group of disgruntled MKs would the best way to foment schisms during the course of the term.

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