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Ben-Eliezer. Unification possible
Photo: Yotam Frum
Cabel. Not now
Photo: Michael Kramer
Will Labor unite with Kadima?
Upcoming elections, unflattering polls prompt senior party members to search for possible solutions. Minister Ben-Eliezer does not rule out cooperation with Kadima, while Labor Secretary-General Cabel says, 'This is not on the agenda, at least not at the moment'
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer took a look at Monday morning's opinion polls, which show that the Labor Party may plunge to 11 Knesset seats in the upcoming elections, and suggested that his party unite with Kadima.

 

Other party officials, however, rejected the idea. Labor Secretary-General Eitan Cabel said upon leaving the President's Residence on Monday, "Any attempt to engage in such matchmaking is out of line.

 

"The Labor Party will run on its own and make the required achievement. Such a unification is not on the agenda, definitely not at this stage."

 

Ben-Eliezer said in an interview with the 103 FM radio station, "I would not rule out a cooperation between Kadima and Labor. This is something which has been discussed in the past. It could be something like the Maarach party or in the form of parliamentary agreements. It could take place before or after the elections."

 

The idea of uniting with the Kadima was last raised in August, when a senior Labor source told Ynet that Minister Ayalon had suggested that the party join Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni in light of Labor's grim situation.

 

Knesset Member Cabel said he believes such a unification is irrelevant at the moment. "The vast majority in our party does not support this." He said he sees the polls and is saddened by them, but that "during (former Labor Chairman Amir) Peretz's era the polls also predicted a collapse, and the results were eventually positive."

 

The Labor Party met with President Shimon Peres on Monday and recommended that he call elections as soon as possible. The party representatives said that the coalition talks had unfortunately failed, but that election are preferable to a narrow government.

 

"We believe that in the face of the existing challenges, we must go to a quick procedure of elections. Any attempt to form a narrow government may lead to serious problems," said Cabel.

 

'Joining Kadima would spell Labor's death'

MK Yoram Marciano responded to the unflattering polls, saying he remembers a conversation he had with Peres in the past, in which the president said, "Polls are like perfume, you should smell them but not taste them."

 

MK Nadia Hilou told Ynet that the polls have indeed affected the party members' mood. "There is real and sincere concern, but this is way to boost the energies and proof that we have to exert greater efforts," she said.

 

MK Shelly Yacimovich added that "there can be no union between Kadima and Labor. Labor will have to fight for its place and accept the voters' choice, what ever it may be.

 

"The social democratic party which built this country cannot lose its way in favor of a fad party with no values. Being in the opposition does not spell political death, but joining Kadima does."

 

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