Political upstart Kahlon plays hardball with Netanyahu in coalition talks

March 20, 2015 20:45

Moshe Kahlon, the Likud defector who led his newly established Kulanu Party to 10 seats in parliament, is preparing a series of demands in what promises to be difficult coalition talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Israeli television, Kahlon will demand that Netanyahu also invite his rival and erstwhile finance minister Yair Lapid into the government.

In addition, Kahlon, who is said to have his eye on the job of finance minister, wants his party to assume control of the powerful Knesset Finance Committee so that he would have enough clout to implement a series of reforms aimed at lowering the cost of living in Israel.

The former communications minister's signature achievement – introducing more competition into Israel's highly concentrated cellular phone market – catapulted him to political stardom.

Now, Kahlon wants Netanyahu to commit to a timetable in which specific reforms that he is planning for the banking sectors as well as the housing sector will go into effect.

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