Kadima rebels push to stop ‘Confinement Bill’ vote

Proposed legislation would cancel the so-called “Mofaz Law,” which made seven the minimum number of MKs that can split from a faction.

Mofaz speaks at Knesset 370 (photo credit: Knesset Spokesman)
Mofaz speaks at Knesset 370
(photo credit: Knesset Spokesman)
A bill meant to deter rebel Kadima MKs from breaking off from the party was removed from the Ministerial Committee for Legislation’s Sunday agenda, partly due to efforts by the very MKs it was meant to stop.
The “Confinement Bill” was proposed by MK Yuval Zellner (Kadima), a staunch ally of party chairman and Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, to cancel the so-called “Mofaz Law,” which made seven the minimum number of MKs that can split from a faction, regardless of its size. The law is named after Mofaz due to rumors that he was leaving Kadima, though the legislation was opposed by its namesake.
Should Zellner’s bill pass, the previous law, which required one-third of a faction for a split, would be restored.
Kadima sources say that several of the party’s MKs, including Robert Tibayev, Shlomo Molla, Orit Zuaretz and Nino Abesadze among others who backed former party leader Tzipi Livni, are considering leaving Kadima. On Wednesday, Tibayev, Abesadze and MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) voted against the coalition in favor of a bill criminalizing discrimination against women.
Zellner’s proposal was supposed to go to a ministerial vote on Sunday, but on Saturday night, it was pulled from the agenda.
Tibayev said the vote on the Confinement Bill was deferred due to a letter he sent to faction chairwoman Dalia Itzik on Thursday, asking her to request that Zellner wait for a faction meeting on the bill before it is brought to a ministerial vote.
“As you know, in the last faction meeting on May 14, several MKs, including myself, expressed opposition to the bill,” Tibayev wrote in the letter.
Zellner said on Saturday night that he was told that ministers delayed the vote on the legislation, not Kadima.
He defended his bill on Friday, saying that it “sends a clear message – Kadima is one and united, and will stay that way.”
When asked why legislation is necessary if Kadima is united, Zellner explained that MKs who want to break off from the party may still do so, and the bill is only a matter of funding.
“I won’t stop whoever wants to leave,” he said. “This will prevent political blackmail, by not allowing groups of MKs to take money from the party according to their own agenda.”
According to Zellner, his bill will increase political and governmental stability, and the “Mofaz Law” was unnecessary to begin with.