Lawyer: Interim PM should be Likudnik

Attorney petitions HCJ to rule against appointment of Kadima member to stand in for Sharon.

Attorney Yossi Fuchs, who is seeking a spot on the Likud Knesset list, asked the High Court of Justice on Wednesday to rule that a member of the Likud faction, rather than the Kadima faction, should be appointed interim prime minister if it is determined that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is permanently incapacitated. According to the petition filed by Fuchs, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has already announced that if Sharon is declared permanently incapacitated, a member of the Kadima Knesset faction would replace him as interim prime minister. According to Article 30 (g) of the Basic Law: Government, "if the prime minister has died or is permanently incapacitated from carrying out his duties... the government shall designate a member of the Knesset and of the prime minister's faction to be interim prime minister..." Sharon was elected in January 2003 as head of the Likud Party list, but left it and formed a new party and Knesset faction in November along with 14 Likud MKs, including Finance Minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert is being touted by Kadima to replace Sharon until the general election. In his petition, Fuchs argued that the intention of the basic law was to appoint a successor from the faction that the prime minister headed on election day. "Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was appointed by the president to form a government as chairman of the Likud faction and, indeed, he heads the government on the strength of the Likud faction, which is the biggest in the Knesset, and not on the strength of Kadima faction, which split away." Meanwhile, another Knesset candidate, Labor Party member Danny Attar, currently head of the Gilboa Regional Council, petitioned the High Court to order the government to complete the separation fence by the end of the year. Attar was one of the first people in the country to push for the construction of a fence, and actually built his own makeshift barrier in the Gilboa area before the government decided to build the security fence currently under construction. Later, he was a leader of the lobbying group Security Fence for Israel, which pushed for the quick construction of the government mandated fence. Attar charged that only a small percentage of the barrier has been completed since the government decided to build it on April 14, 2002. "More than five years after the outbreak of the so-called Al Aksa intifada, and more than three-and-a-half years after the government decided to build the fence, only 35% of it has been completed," Attar's lawyers, Amichai Weinberger and Yinor Berthental, charged in the petition.