Barak speech serious 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool )
Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his four allies who broke off from the Labor
Party on January 17 are now officially independent after their faction was
formally registered this week with the national party registrar.
now, Independence was only a Knesset faction. Were it not formed into a party
within three months of the split from Labor, the Knesset would not have been
obligated to continue to fund it.
But Independence’s registration had to
wait until a deal was reached with Labor formalizing the split, which was only
finalized on Sunday after nearly three months of negotiations.
to the deal, Independence will not take any of Labor’s debts or assets and the
two parties will equally divide the NIS 315,000 a month given to a party with
The funding will enable the new party to hire staff, build a
website and hold an inaugural rally. The new party is expected to adopt the
suggestion of Agriculture Minister Orit Noked to symbolically hold the rally on
Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s independence day, which this year falls on May
To ease bureaucracy and save time, Independence adopted the skeleton
of the defunct Third Way party, which was led by Yom Kippur War hero Avigdor
Kahalani. Golan Regional Council head Eli Malka, who holds the rights to the
party, decided to give it to Independence’s Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister
Shalom Simhon, who is a close friend.
Independence still has challenges
ahead. It must formally change the party’s name from the Third Way to the
Independence Party. The change is expected to be challenged by economist Moti
Heinrich, who ran unsuccessfully for Knesset on a list under that name in 1981
and 1984 and does not rule out running under the name again.
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party advocated capitalist political ideas that ostensibly are the opposite of
what Barak intends to champion in his new party.
He obtained a letter
from the party registrar’s office indicating that names of an existing or past
party cannot be used without permission.
The Independence faction’s
chairwoman, MK Einat Wilf, said the precedent of blocking a party from using a
name occurred when voters would have been confused. She said it was unlikely
that her party would be confused with one that has not run in 30 years, but just
in case, the party might run under the name Independence led by Ehud
Polls have shown that such a party would have little to no chance
of passing the 2-percent electoral threshold. But officials in the new party
said it was too early to predict its fate.
Political officials have
suggested that the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu hired new
political strategists last week who once worked with Barak was proof that the
two political allies were planning a maneuver to run together in the next
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