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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kadima Achora - Labor alliance 'in trouble'

I've talked a bit about what it takes to topple the government here and why it may take a little time. The one event that can accelerate the government's fall is for it to lose a major coalition partner. Tonight, Kadima Achora's coalition chairman is saying that the party's alliance with Labor is 'in trouble' over the refusal of two Labor representatives on the Knesset Finance Committee to support NIS 2 billion in budget cuts required to pay for the war.
"The significance of this, is that today there is no coalition in the state of Israel," [Coalition Chairman Avigdor CiJ] Yitzhaki told Israel Radio.

"The Labor Party is not a coalition partner which can be trusted, therefore I am going to propose to the prime minister that he immediately reshuffle [the cabinet] and to enter into new coalition negotiations, from the beginning.

The Labor lawmakers said the cuts would sap funds earmarked for social welfare needs.

"For reasons of conscience I will not raise my hand in favor of supporting a budget which harms the weak, which harms the Negev and the Galilee," [Labor MK Avishai CiJ] Braverman told the committee before a scheduled vote Tuesday. "I will not vote for the finance minister's proposal."

The planned vote on the budget cuts was then postponed. The measure also failed to clear the committee last week.
Two things that are important to realize here:

1. Braverman - the former President of Ben Gurion University - was frozen out of a ministerial position (a position that he was expected to receive) by Labor party chairman Amir Comrade Peretz. It is entirely possible that Braverman and the other MK (Orit Noked) will be ordered to vote in favor of the cuts or be replaced.

2. I look at this differently: I think that Kadima Achora has their fingers up and have figured out which way the wind is blowing. I think they're looking to replace Labor with some more right-wing coalition partners. That has precedent here. A fellow named Sharon did that to Shinui in 2004, knowing that Shinui would vote for the Gaza surrender anyway, and knowing that he had to get Haredi parties into the coalition to broaden it. (For the record, all of the critical votes for the surrender had taken place by then anyway). Sharon purposely triggered a fight that he knew would cause Shinui to withdraw from the coalition and then he took in Haredi parties.

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