Negotiating parties split on Likud push to increase number of ministers

March 28, 2015 23:01
1 minute read.

Likud negotiators pushed for an increase in the number of ministers in the next government from the legal limit of 19, including the prime minister, to 21 or 22, but faced resistance from some of the parties hoping to be in the next coalition.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to ensure that Likud has a majority in the cabinet, but still has to balance the other parties' demands in negotiations. Canceling the law put in place by the last government allowing prime ministers to only appoint 18 ministers and four deputy ministers would help Likud's position in coalition talks, allowing other parties to get more portfolios, while increasing Likud's number so they maintain a majority.

However, Yisrael Beytenu, which proposed the electoral reform, strongly opposes the increase and any change to the law it initiated.

Shas chairman Arye Deri also came out against increasing the number of ministers, for socioeconomic reasons, arguing that the cost of extra ministers' salaries would be better spent elsewhere.

"We shouldn't increase the number of ministers. It sets a bad example," Shas spokesman Yaakov Bezalel explained Saturday night. "It's not fair to the low-income population."

A United Torah Judaism spokesman said the list is not wedded to the number 18, but that they do not want a "bloated" amount of ministers and they oppose ministers without portfolio, which are also against the law since the electoral reform was passed.

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