PM, Eitan to meet on gov't expansion

GIL chairman threatens to oppose Lieberman if budget demands not met.

October 27, 2006 08:10
Rafi Eitan 88 298

Rafi Eitan 88 298. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is due to meet with GIL Pensioners Party Chairman Rafi Eitan early next week in preparation for the imminent entry of Israel Beteinu into the coalition, Army Radio reported on Friday. Sources close to Olmert expressed confidence that despite Eitan's budgetary demands he would support the new expanded coalition. Pensioners Party MKs met with Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson on Thursday and warned him that their faction would oppose the expansion of the coalition if their budgetary demands were not met. The demands include canceling cuts in old age payments, increasing the Health Ministry budget and the Social Affairs portfolio. Reportedly, Olmert's entourage was trying to persuade GIL Faction members not to oppose Israel Beiteinu's entry into the government. Ovad Yehezkel, Olmert's political advisor, held a string of talks with Eitan to encourage him to vote in favor of the move. Eitan is scheduled to meet with Peretz and Shas Chairman Eli Yishai over the weekend to coordinate a strategy for obtaining a more socio-economically friendly budget leading up to the cabinet and Knesset votes next week vote.

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