Netanyahu, Mofaz announce deal.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Kadima may owe its continued political existence to Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s decision to cancel plans for early elections and form a national
unity government, according to a Smith Research poll published over the
The poll was conducted for the business newspaper Globes last
Monday and Tuesday, the day before and after the night that Netanyahu scrapped
the election and signed a 2 a.m. deal with opposition leader Shaul
It found that support for Kadima, which won 28 mandates in the
2009 election, had dropped from 13 seats to only nine since the last poll Smith
took two weeks earlier – which was published in The Jerusalem Post on April 27,
the day that talk of an early election began.
The Globes poll also found
for the first time that Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Independence Party would
cross the electoral threshold, winning four seats, and that an as-yet unformed
party led by former Shas leader Aryeh Deri would win three. Neither party won
any mandates in the poll published by the Post.
Both polls predicted that
the Likud would receive 31 seats, up from its current 27, and win the election
by a landslide.
The new poll gave Labor 17 seats, Yisrael Beytenu 13,
Yesh Atid 11, Shas seven, United Torah Judaism five, Meretz four, and the
National Union and Habayit Hayehudi three each. The three Arab parties together
would win 10 mandates.
The Post poll predicted 15 seats for Labor and
Yisrael Beytenu, Yesh Atid 11, Shas eight, United Torah Judaism six, National
Union four, and Habayit Hayehudi and Meretz three. The three Arab parties
together would win 11 mandates.
Mofaz attended his first cabinet meeting
since joining the government Sunday. Netanyahu welcomed him warmly and
had him sit to his immediate right, temporarily displacing Vice Premier Silvan
Shalom for one week.
On Monday, Mofaz will convene the Kadima faction for
the first time since it entered the coalition. Rebel Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz, who
was abroad when the party joined the coalition, is expected to tell her faction
colleagues that she will not respect coalition discipline.
In order to
prevent rebel MKs such as Zuaretz from leaving Kadima, Mofaz sent his close
ally, new MK Yuval Zellner, to propose a bill that would make it harder to split the party.
Zellner’s bill would repeal legislation that lowered the
minimum number of MKs needed for splitting a large party to seven. The bill
would restore the previous law that required one-third of a faction for a split,
regardless of the party’s size.
Kadima officials expressed confidence
that Zellner’s bill would pass by next week.