Ex-Shinui MKs mull breakaway party

Party leader Lapid could announce retirement from political life today.

lapid 88 (photo credit: )
lapid 88
(photo credit: )
Amid speculation that Shinui Chairman Yosef "Tommy" Lapid will announce his retirement from political life on Sunday, supporters of his second-in-command, Avraham Poraz, met late into Saturday night. MK Ehud Rassabi, meanwhile, had offered a last-ditch proposal Saturday evening that called for MK Avraham Poraz to return to the party ranks and accept the number two position on the party list. Poraz, a Shinui founding father, promised to consider the proposal, but sources close to the veteran politician said that he has no intent of cooperating with the people who "assassinated the Shinui Party." Ron Lowenthal, who defeated Poraz for the number two slot in the party's balloting on Thursday, said that the proposal was completely unacceptable to him. He, in turn, proposed that Poraz take the third place position on the party list. "Poraz was defeated in the election, and I am the one who has the trust of the members of the Shinui Committee," Lowenthal said. Poraz met Saturday with MK Roman Bronfman, head of the Democratic Choice Party, and the two discussed the possibility that the faction that resigned from Shinui following the Thursday vote could join Bronfman's party. Poraz suffered a major upset Thursday night in the vote determining the Shinui list for the upcoming Knesset elections, as Tel Aviv council member Rob Lowenthal beat him for the number two spot. Several current Shinui MKs withdrew their candidacy for other spots on the list, and Ronny Brison, Eti Livni, Meli Polishook-Bloch and Ilan Shalgi went so far as to resign from the party along with Poraz. They were meeting at Poraz's home to determine whether they and other disenchanted Shinui MKs - including Reshef Chayne, Victor Brailovsky, Eliezer Sandberg and Chemi Doron - would look at breaking away and forming their own party or joining another party as a bloc. According to Knesset guidelines, if eight Shinui MKs - more than half of the 14-member faction - agree, they could take the name and budget of the party. However, other legal obstacles might prevent such a move, and the meeting Saturday night included a lawyer apprising the politicians of their options. Three current Shinui MKs retained spots on the Shinui list, as part of the party maneuvering that unseated Poraz: Rassabi, Ilan Leibovitch at number four and Erela Golan at number five. Yigal Yasinov at number seven is the only other MK, aside from Lapid, who also received a place on the list. But according to current polls, Shinui mandates are set to shrink to between three and five seats in the next Knesset, though Poraz loyalists have suggested Shinui won't even pass the threshold to enter the legislature without the party's established names at the helm.