Kadima, Lieberman Mulling Non-Religious Bloc

Likud Mocks 'Insolent' Lieberman While Kadima Courts Him

by Jason Ditz, February 16, 2009

While most people had assumed that Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman would eventually wind up in the camp of the Likud Party, it seems that a public snub by Likud and growing efforts by the Kadima Party may put him into the centrist party’s bloc.

Bibi doesn’t have Lieberman,” according to Kadima member and Vice Premier Haim Ramon, and though other Kadima and Likud sources say Lieberman may end up not recommending either party on his Thursday meeting with President Peres, Kadima certainly seems to be the front-runner for his endorsement right now.

Things have been changing quickly in the coalition wrangling efforts since last week’s election, and could well change again in the next few days, but where Likud looked close to sewing up the third place Lieberman’s endorsement days ago, they now look quite distant.

It started yesterday when Lieberman demanded to be given either the foreign ministry or defense ministry portfolio. Likud officials mocked the demands as “insolent“: and insisted that they had no obligation to give the party such a role. True enough, but with Kadima holding more seats than Likud and seemingly willing to give the controversial right-winger everything he wants, refusing to do so could cement the Kadima-Yisrael Beiteinu bloc as a center-right secularist faction, while Likud is left trying to piece together a coalition of religious factions to counter them.

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