soon and very soon

Monday, November 21, 2005


This is by far Sharon's biggest political gamble in a military and political career on built on risk-taking. Sharon met with Israeli President Moshe Katsav today and called for a immediate elections which could be held as soon as 90 days. Sharon will announce that he intends to leave the hawkish Likud Party, which he helped find and which has turned on him since Sharon announced his Disengagement Plan from Gaza.

What to look for...Ehud Olmert, who was considered to be a Likud favorite to be Prime Minister some day, will probably join Sharon's new party. Expect Benjamin Netanyahu, who helped galvanize the Likud against Sharon, to be on Likud's list as Prime Minister.

Sharon is naming his party "National Responsibility".
Sharon's new party aims to attract 14 Likud MKs, which would then grant it the status of "breakaway faction," and entitle it to some of the Likud's state funding.

Numerous non-Likud personalities were also reportedly planning to stand with the prime minister, including former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter, Ben Gurion University President Avishai Braverman, Professor Uriel Reichman and former Likud minister Dan Meridor, who has expressed a desire to return to politics.

Vice Premier Shimon Peres, who engaged Sunday in long talks with Sharon regarding future cooperation, will not leave the Labor Party to join Sharon's new party, Peres' aides said Monday.

Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who is expected to hand in his letter of resignation Monday along with the other Labor cabinet members, said Sharon's decision presented Labor with "an historic opportunity to contend with not just Likud, but with another party," said "We need to consider now who will bring the central economic and social salvation - [Benjamin] Netanyahu, Sharon or Labor," he added.

The new Labor leader Amir Peretz broke up Sharon’s government coalition by ordering the party’s eight ministers to hand in their resignations Monday and prepare for an early election. The decision was ratified by the Labor central committee Sunday. The partnership held together for 10 months around the common Sharon-Labor goal of evacuating the Gaza Strip. This same goal split Likud irreparably, a large faction declaring war on the party leader prime minister Sharon. Since Peretz’s election two weeks ago, Sharon found his options dwindling sharply. After turning his back on Likud, he has the choice of building a new party to fight the election or retiring.

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