Analysis: Does the Left really want Kadima in the opposition?

Clearly the fact that both are identified with the Left side of the political map helped bring about their downfall.

haim oron 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haim oron 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Labor and Meretz members keep on publicly attacking Kadima leader Tzipi Livni for even thinking about sitting in a coalition with the Likud and Israel Beiteinu, but some observers say it may just be for show. Even if some of the critics truly believe Kadima should go into opposition, many on the Left believe that the left-wing parties might have a better chance at rehabilitation if they have the opposition all to themselves. Both Labor and Meretz suffered major blows in last week's elections, with Labor losing a third of its strength and Meretz, despite its merger with Hatnua Hahadasha, dropping from five seats to three. Clearly the fact that both are identified with the Left side of the political map helped bring about their downfall, as the voting public leaned decidedly to the Right. Thus, to many left-wingers, sitting in the opposition and formulating an alternative vision is the Left's most reasonable option. That, however, could be difficult if they have to share the opposition with the more centrist Kadima, which, as the Knesset's largest party, would be likely to dominate things. On Monday, Labor MKs Ophir Paz-Pines and Eitan Cabel harshly criticized Livni and Kadima for pursuing negotiations with Israel Beiteinu's Avigdor Lieberman. "He who feared that Kadima is another Likud discovered today that Kadima is another Israel Beiteinu," Paz-Pines said in a statement. However, no Labor MKs agreed to say on the record that Labor preferred Kadima in the opposition. Hatnua Hahadasha-Meretz chairman MK Haim Oron, on the other hand, said his party had no problems sharing the opposition benches with Kadima and Livni. "Kadima is no left-wing party and it doesn't feel the need to define itself like that. I am always glad to have new partners in the opposition," Oron said. "I have an annoying habit of asking first what is better for the country," he added. "I think that the right-wing bloc, which has been screaming in the past week that it won, should not look for a fig leaf to cover itself with, and simply implement the policies it claims it has and prove once and for all what it can do. "Who knows, if they succeed, maybe we will vote for them next time," Oron quipped. MK Dov Henin, chairman of the left-wing Hadash Party, which actually gained a mandate last week, said that if Kadima wanted to maintain its integrity it would sit in the opposition and not join an extreme right-wing government. "I expect Livni to be loyal to the path she has proclaimed she would follow. Otherwise the politicians will lose what little respect the public has left for them," Henin said.