Sheetrit: Kadima not splitting, for now

Party leadership candidate denies he's trying to draft MKs to split with him, says such a move would be done in secret - not in the news.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
January 1, 2012 19:27
2 minute read.
Meir Sheetrit

Meir Sheetrit. (photo credit: Miiam Alster)

 
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Kadima leadership candidate Meir Sheetrit denied reports on Sunday that he was trying to draft the seven MKs required to split his faction and form a new one under his leadership.

Sheetrit has been a frequent critic of the party’s current head, opposition leader Tzipi Livni. Army Radio reported that he had spoken about splitting the faction with multiple MKs but had fallen an MK or two short in drafting the necessary amount.

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Kadima MKs, including Sheetrit, confirmed that they were concerned about their party’s future following a Shvakim Panorama poll broadcast Thursday on Israel Radio that predicted Kadima would win only 10 seats in the next Knesset if journalist Yair Lapid formed a rival party.

“Due to the problematic state of the party, people are talking about all kinds of options, including a split, but that doesn’t mean it’s serious,” Sheetrit said. “If a split were to happen, it would have to be done behind the scenes, not in the news. I’m not saying it won’t happen in the future. In Israeli politics, you can never say never, but it’s not happening now.”

Kadima MK Yaakov Edri, who was involved in past attempts to split the party, said he does not expect a split to happen.

His party colleague, MK Marina Solodkin, said the reports about Sheetrit had not surprised her, because he had become increasingly independent in voting against Kadima-sponsored bills.

“Sheetrit has been isolated,” she said. “He knows he has no future in Kadima.”

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Sheetrit’s preferred method of dealing with his party’s woes is to force Livni to initiate a leadership race. The Kadima faction will meet Monday for the first time since Livni completed her meetings with all 28 Kadima MKs in which she asked them when they recommend that the primary be held.

The faction meeting is expected to be stormy because the MKs will be discussing the party’s budget, which was the subject of investigative reports.

When Kadima MKs complained to Livni that they were not told about budget allocations for 2011 until over half the year had passed, they were told they would see allocations for 2012 by October.

Three months later, even though the Kadima faction is supposed to act as the party’s board of directors, the MKs still have not seen their own party’s budget. Sheetrit said he hopes MKs are given a full report on the budget on Monday before they are asked to vote on it.

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