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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The various camps that have formed in Kadima need to remain quiet and allow Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to do his job, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said in a ceremony toasting the new year Saturday night.
"I will acknowledge that there are various camps in Kadima and I do not see this as a problem. We cannot have such a large and powerful party as Kadima without separate camps or factions in it. We are working together to build Kadima," Dichter said to more than a hundred Kadima supporters who gathered in Herzliya.
"Whomever thinks he is a possible candidate for leading the party needs to wait until the next legal opportunity to present his candidacy. Don't try to push out the current leadership."
Dichter's speech came amid growing speculation over his own allegiance to the party.
There has been growing talk of a possible rebellion among Kadima MKs. Some of the MKs involved in the uprising are interested in forcing Olmert out of the Kadima chairmanship due to his alleged failures in the Second Lebanon War and his unpopularity in the polls. And some of them would agree to call off the rebellion if he were to be replaced.
Many of the rebels are backbenchers who would have little chance of getting reelected in Kadima and are unattractive to other parties, and who hope that leaving at an opportune time might allow them to negotiate realistic slots on another party list before the next election.
At least two of these MKs have met secretly with Likud chairman Binyamin Netan-yahu, who expressed interest in bringing them into his party.
Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik denied that there was any threat of factions splitting off from Kadima. "What has been written in the papers is not correct. I have seen nothing to prove the rumors of such a rebellion," Itzik said last week.
Ministers Ronnie Bar-On and Meir Sheetrit also attended the ceremony and called on Kadima members to remain positive about the party and to ignore the rumors of a Kadima breakup.
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