Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Kadima-Likud Merger?

Aluf Benn speculates that Likud could reabsorb Kadima:
"On Tuesday, Kadima's role in politics came to an end after six years in which it changed four leaders, spending time at the top, in the opposition, and back in the coalition. The polls predicted the party's collapse in an upcoming elections. With its deal to join Netanyahu's government, it seems Kadima members forfeited their dream of a strong, independent centrist party. Kadima crashed since, when tested as an opposition party it turned out it didn’t have much to say, providing no real alternative to Netanyahu's regime – other than Livni's refusal to join his government, which in retrospect, shows her to be a woman of principle, a basis for her comeback at the next elections.
"Netanyahu's obvious move would be to bring Kadima back into the Likud fold, creating a wide, centrist ruling party. Following the exit of several moderate politicians, the Likud has shifted into an extreme right-wing party in recent years, under the influence of Moshe Feiglin and his representatives at Likud's offices. Their effect had neutralized any chance for a diplomatic progress with the Palestinians. The return of Mofaz, Ronny Bar-On, Meir Sheetrit and Tzchi Hanegbi will have a moderate effect on the party, positioning at Israeli's central political bloc. The chances of a merger of this kind are now greater than ever, a result of a panic taking hold of Kadima's members over the chill that will greet them outside if they try to run in a separate list again."
It seems clear that, based on the reception this new coalition deal is getting, Kadima led by Mofaz will go nowhere in the Fall 2013 elections.  Its hard to be a centrist opposition party when there is a left available.  As a wild question, however, could this consolidate an era of Likud dominance similar to that the Labor bloc enjoyed in Israeli politics before 1977?  Since the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the only Labor prime ministers have been the caretaker Shimon Peres and the short term of Ehud Barak from 1999 until 2001.  Kadima does have some ex-Labor MKs, but the leadership has always been from the larger ex-Likud wing.  Its also tough to see Israelis making any of the current crop of Labor leaders prime minister, even in a year's time.



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