A day after the Pensioners’ party recorded a shocking victory in the elections, earning seven mandates, the party now has to contemplate the coalition puzzle.
What does the party think of Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s plan to withdraw from West Bank territories? What is their diplomatic standpoint on the security situation? “We must wait until the faction meeting,” its members say, refusing to give any answers yet.
In the last elections, they voted for various parties, including Labor, Likud and Shinui. But this time, they say, the main issue they face in entering a government coalition is the welfare of the elderly.
Yitzhak Galenti, 60, fifth on the party list and a resident of Nesher, founded and chairs the Electric Company Pensioners Union. In the last elections, he voted for Shinui. As pensioners’ welfare is his main platform, Galenti says he wouldn’t mind sitting in a coalition with Shas or Avigdor Lieberman.
Regarding his preferred coalition make-up, he says: “I don’t want to commit to an answer until after we sit down and formulate our position. Although my personal opinion towards Lieberman is that he’s a little extreme. On the other hand, I’m not ruling anyone out, including Shas. We are an assortment of people with a common goal: to advance pensioners’ interests. From a socio-economic perspective, we are far from being capitalists and identify more closely with the socialist side of things.”
'The faction will decide'
Sixth on the party list is Elhana Glazer, 59, Chairman of the Pensioners’ Union for the Aerial Industry, from Rishon Lezion. His whole life, Glazer voted Labor, but he doesn’t discount sitting in a coalition with right-wing parties.
“We have just one red line, and that is: whoever mends the injustices done to pensioners – we'll sit with them. As for returning territories, the faction will meet next week to discuss the matter and decide the party line. From a social perspective, I would like to set right the injustices towards retirees in this country. We will sit with anyone who supports us, whether they are Orthodox or extreme-right. I supported Labor, but I don’t any more. Today I am with the Pensioners’ party, and after a democratic discussion in the party, the chairman and members will present their opinion. We will see what happens according to majority rule,” Glazer said.
Yitzhak Ziv, 68, from Ramat Gan, fourth on the party list and Acting Chairman of the Bezek Pensioners’ Union, voted Likud in the last elections. “Our diplomatic position will be decided by the faction, which will meet next week,” Ziv said.
“In the last elections I voted Likud, and after everything fell apart I’m not with them any longer. For a part of the time, I favored the National Religious Party. But now we’ve established a party with one goal alone. As for who we’ll sit with – the faction will decide.”