Likud may merge with Eitam's party

Deal would allow party to increase maximum campaign spending to NIS 40 million.

Eitam 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Eitam 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu met with MK Effi Eitam on Wednesday and discussed the possibility of merging the Likud with Eitam's Ahi party ahead of Sunday's deadline to submit party lists to the Central Elections Committee. Such a deal would allow the Likud to increase its maximum campaign spending from NIS 28 million to NIS 40 million. In return, a representative of the party - though not Eitam himself - would be added to the Likud list. A source close to Eitam said the representative would be placed in the mid-30s on the list, a move that could result in Netanyahu's nemesis, Moshe Feiglin, moving down from the 36th to the 37th slot. Netanyahu's associates denied reports that a deal with Eitam had been finalized. Kadima released a statement calling Eitam "Feiglin-lite," and accusing Netanyahu of zig-zagging, first rejecting Eitam's efforts to join the Likud and then agreeing to merge with his party. Netanyahu reportedly decided on Tuesday to accede to a request of MKs in his faction to appoint them to positions in the Likud campaign, even though he had originally intended to use only professionals.