(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not appoint Yesh Atid chairman as a minister in his next government if he wins the March 17 election, his associates said on Tuesday.
Likud officials ruled out Yesh Atid being included in a coalition. Ultra-Orthodox parties will be included instead, they said.
“Lapid failed as finance minister, and Netanyahu will not appoint a failure,” a Likud official said.
Yesh Atid said in response that Netanyahu will not form the next government.
Netanyahu continued the process on Tuesday of replacing the Yesh Atid ministers he fired three weeks ago when he appointed deputy ministers Tzachi Hanegbi and Tzipi Hotovely, both from the Likud, to be in charge of the Health and Science ministries, respectively. They will run the ministries under Netanyahu while continuing in their current posts, Hanegbi in the Foreign Ministry and Hotovely as deputy transportation minister.
Former health minister Yael German of Yesh Atid called on Hanegbi to continue to implement her reforms in the ministry.
During an election period, Netanyahu is not permitted to appoint a new minister, but he can appoint a deputy minister while he holds the portfolio himself. The prime minister appointed MK Ophir Akunis as deputy environment minister two weeks ago. He has not announced who will take over the Finance Ministry.
The Movement for Quality Government protested the decision to appoint Hanegbi, because he has been convicted in the past of making illegal political appointments.
“The courts should make their voice heard loud and clear that a man who committed a crime and betrayed the confidence of the public by advancing his personal interests rather than the public’s should not serve in the Israeli government,” the movement said.
Meanwhile, Hatnua MK David Tzur informed his party leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday that he will not seek a slot on the combined Labor-Hatnua candidates list in the March election.
Tsur told Livni that he supports the two parties running together and that he hopes other parties will join the bloc, but that he did not want to be on the list.
“I’m satisfied from the time that I served in the Knesset,” he said in a press release. “I will continue to be involved and serve the public in politics and in other ways.”
Livni praised Tsur for his dedication and his service in the parliament. She said she looked forward to continue working with him in the future.
More announcements about Hatnua’s candidates who will run in the reserved slots on the Labor list are expected to be announced as early as Wednesday.
Labor continues negotiating with MK Shaul Mofaz about his Kadima joining the list, but Mofaz has run into legal problems.
Officials in his party have taken him to a court, which told him he cannot decide on his own to merge with Labor.
Outgoing Labor MK Avishay Braverman blasted Lapid on Tuesday in an interview with Voice of Israel. He said Lapid should not have taken the finance minister job because he was unqualified.
“It was chutzpah of Netanyahu to appoint Lapid finance minister, and it was chutzpah of Lapid to accept the job,” he said.
Judy Siegel contributed to this report.