Kadima's Top 10 starting to take shape

Sharon, Olmert, Livni, Dichter, and Sheetrit will occupy first five positions.

olmert sharon cabinet298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
olmert sharon cabinet298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will decide Kadima's Knesset list on his own next month, but Sharon's associates said not to expect surprises. The top five on the list has been clear since Sharon left the Likud two weeks ago. Sharon will be followed by Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, former Shin-Bet chief Avi Dichter and Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, but not necessarily in that order. The next five on the list is less clear, but it is expected to include the other two ministers who joined Kadima, Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra and Tourism Minister Avraham Hirchson. MK Haim Ramon, who quit the cabinet along with the other former Labor ministers two weeks ago, is expected to be placed in the top 10. Former prime minister Shimon Peres made life easier for Sharon when he agreed to not take a slot on the Kadima list and serve only as a minister. There was a question about whether Shinui founder and Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center president Prof. Uriel Reichman would do the same, but Sharon's associates said he would be an MK. That leaves only one slot remaining in the top 10 and Sharon's associates said that the prime minister would have to add another. Kadima has attracted four high profile women so far besides Livni: Former minister Dalia Itzik, former Education Ministry Director-General Ronit Tirosh, Deputy Interior Minister Ruhama Avraham and Deputy Immigrant Absorption Minister Marina Solodkin. When asked who the No. 2 woman in Kadima was, a source close to Sharon who had previously refused to speculate about the list said openly that it was Solodkin. Sharon called Solodkin on Monday and asked her to head the party's campaign efforts among immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Solodkin said she had not asked Sharon for any special placement on the list, but that if Sharon decided to place her in the top 10 she would be very happy. A Sharon associate said that three more women would be drafted to Kadima so the party could present eight women among its top 30. A poll broadcast on Channel 1 on Monday night predicted that Kadima would win 42 mandates in the next Knesset, the most any poll has predicted for the party thus far.