PM upbeat on Likud deal over ministers

Compromise proposal to be presented to Likud faction for approval.

sharon smiling 298  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
sharon smiling 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is cautiously optimistic that a compromise proposal presented by Likud mediators Michael Eitan and Gideon Sa'ar will allow him to weather the crisis over his cabinet appointments and any future crises ahead of the general election set for next November, Sharon's associates said on Saturday night. The proposal, which Eitan and Sa'ar will present to the Likud faction for approval on Monday, will clarify the authority of the faction and its relations with the government. The main feature of the proposal is a dialogue forum to resolve disagreements in the Likud. The members of the forum would be Sharon, Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Likud rebel leader Uzi Landau and Sa'ar. "I don't know if this is what will bring salvation [to the party]," Sa'ar said on Saturday night. Sa'ar and Eitan presented the proposal to Sharon, who will convene his advisers Sunday to consider the proposal. Sa'ar and Eitan met on Saturday night with Likud rebel MK Michael Ratzon, who called the proposal "a step in the right direction." In a speech on Saturday in Beersheba, proposed immigrant absorption minister Ze'ev Boim said that Sharon wasn't doing enough to reach out to his opponents in the Likud. He also accused the Likud rebels of acting out of personal interests and not ideology. "Sharon wants to bring the appointments as a bloc, but if they don't pass all together, he might be forced to delay the Knesset vote on my appointment and that of [proposed industry, trade and labor minister] Roni Bar-On, and get formal approval only for the appointment of Ehud Olmert as finance minister," Boim said.