Kadima won the elections, with 28 seats only: On Thursday senior party officials, led by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, are set to discuss the repercussions of the relatively disappointing results of the 2006 elections.
“Despite the victory, there is a feeling of disappointment. That’s not what was supposed to happen and there is no doubt that this not what we expected,” a senior party official said.
Officially, Kadima members are not willing to say they will give up some of senior portfolios, which they expected to keep in the next government. The portfolios are the Finance, Foreign, Defense and Education ministries. But in fact, it is clear to senior party leaders that they need to give up one or maybe two of these portfolios.
Senior officials said Wednesday morning that the Finance and Education ministries might be given to coalition partners.
“The Finance Ministry is very important for Olmert, as is the Education Ministry, because it is (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon’s promise to Prof. Uriel Reichman. Everything else could be a price paid in negotiations,” a senior official said. Estimates in Kadima are that they might have to give two portfolios to Labor.
Meanwhile, President Moshe Katsav said Wednesday afternoon that he will hold a series of consultations on forming a government starting Sunday.
"I will not wait to receive the official and final results of the Election Committee. I have already received unofficial and non-final results and I plan to hold consultations with the heads of the Knesset factions starting the coming Sunday," Katsav said.
On Wednesday morning groping conversations were held between Kadima ministers and Olmert aides to check their position ahead of the formation of the next government. Tension between those ministers is tremendous. Some know they won’t be able to sit at the cabinet table and are exploring alternatives, among other things good spots in the Knesset. But, Olmert aides told Ynet this is too early a stage to decide who will have to give up ministerial portfolios.
'Final results are the end of the euphoria'
“Everything is open at this stage and everything will be tested according to the reality of the new coalition, if in a leftist coalition, with Labor, Meretz, haredim, and maybe Pensioners, or another coalition,” they said.
A senior Kadima official who will apparently fill a major position in forming the next coalition said the State of Israel awoke to a completely new reality. “There are two factors for the people of Israel to ‘bang their heads in the wall’: The first is that the low turnout rate has once again strengthened marginal sectors like the haredim and Arabs. The second is giving 7 mandates to the Pensioners,” the official said, adding that coalition talks will be difficult.
Another Kadima official told Ynet: “The final results are the end of the euphoria for many in Kadima, as many members thought their place in the Knesset was secured. More so, many senior officials, including some who served in ministerial and parliamentary positions, will not be able to occupy these positions in the new government. We need to internalize this: 28 mandates for Kadima and 20 for Labor necessitate a new organization.”
Following is a list of Kadima's top 10 Members of Knesset: Ehud Olmert, Shimon Peres, Tzipi Livni, Meir Shetrit, Avi Dichter, Marina Solodkin, Haim Ramon, Shaul Mofaz, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Abraham Hirchson.
Meanwhile, the third largest party in the Knesset, Shas, intends on asking for the Interior, Communication and Housing ministries should Olmert engage in coalition talks with the party.