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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Labor party will probably pass on opportunity to bring down government

Maariv's (Hebrew) website reports this evening that the Labor party central committee will meet on Friday - unless they decide to postpone the meeting until after a new chairman is chosen on May 28. Three different proposals are being made for how to deal with the embarrassing position Labor is in by propping up the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government.

One proposal, being made by three of the five leadership candidates (Ami Ayalon, Danny Yatom and Ophir Pines-Paz or Paz-Pines, whichever he calls himself these days - they are pictured left to right in the picture at top left), calls for the Labor party ministers to leave the coalition so long as Ehud K. Olmert is Prime Minister. Disingenuously, the resolution says that the Prime Minister "must reach personal conclusions and resign, as the Chief of Staff did and as the Defense Minister has said he would." That's not quite what Peretz said (he said he would trade Defense for Finance after the primary), but in this context that's almost beside the point.

The proposal also says that while Labor will not sit with Olmert, it will sit in another government together with Kadima Achora based upon the existing government platform

In a bid to gain the support of a fourth candidate, Ehud Barak, they have added a paragraph to the resolution which states that three weeks after the primary, the new chairman must reconvene the central committee to adopt operative resolutions to implement this one. Effectively, that gives Achora three weeks after the primary (until June 18) to depose Olmert.

A second resolution, to be brought by defenseless 'defense' minister Amir Comrade Peretz would call on the Labor party not to intervene in any other party's political deliberations, but that would demand the Finance Ministry (which he wants for himself), and the reopening of the coalition platform to add more 'social justice' planks. For the record, Peretz is no more qualified to be Finance Minister than he is to be 'defense' minister, and if anything he would be even worse as Finance Minister because he knows how to damage the economy.

The third resolution, to be brought by Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer would postpone any decision about remaining in the government until the new party chairman is selected.

My predictions:

1. Friday's meeting will be postponed.

2. Ami Ayalon will be elected chairman (he is currently leading in the polls, with Barak second and a big drop off after that to Peretz).

3. Labor and Achora will force Olmert to resign in favor of Livni, which is no great accomplishment (although they will tout it as one).

4. Labor will drop the 'social justice' stuff because the only one they have who might be qualified to be finance minister is Yitzchak Herzog and there is no way they are going to give him a senior position like that and give up on one for Ayalon or Barak, both of whom are qualified only to be defense minister among the top three ministries (defense, foreign and finance). Labor is not likely to get more than one senior ministry with the current Knesset composition.

The only way to change this grim scenario is to get back into the streets and protest. So far, the only demonstration was the one held on May 3. Many on the right complained that protest was dominated by the left. But so far, I haven't seen the right take to the streets. Unless they do, nothing will change.


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