Not easy, not easy, is the road to a coalition: On Thursday senior Labor officials attacked Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert head-on. A sebior Labor official told Ynet: “It is clear for us and Amir Peretz that Olmert cannot keep his promise to President George W. Bush with Labor in government. He cannot include Likud or Israel Our Home, and he should stop speaking about this.”
The comments were said in reaction to Kadima hints on Thursday that they have options other than Labor to form a government, and to threats by Kadima officials that parties who do not recommend Olmert to President Moshe Katsav cannot join the coalition.
Labor officials said Peretz and senior party members are have started to “lose their patience with Kadima’s aggressiveness. We are convinced that we are the second largest party and we managed to dictate the national order of the state of Israel, which is solely social. We would have expected of Kadima to come out with a plan aimed at securing political stability for the next four years.”
“Who said they will all recommend Olmert to the president? If Olmert continues to play the game as if he is doing a favor, and allows Haim Ramon to play dirty games, he will wake up to a game from our side. This game can have very interesting additions around an agreement on socio-economic subjects.”
Amir Peretz and Labor officials decided that Labor will not be speaking about ministerial portfolios at the moment, and will stick to discussing the socio-economic principles set during the election campaign.
Labor MK Ophir Pines-Paz said Thursday that “everyone should be told that the election is over, to spokespersons, and strategists, and what is important is that Olmert and Peretz meet, to start manage the affairs.”
Olmert to meet party leaders next week
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will invite party leaders for talks as of Sunday, to ensure that most parties recommend him to President Moshe Katsav. Meretz leader Yossi Beilin will be the first invitee.
Aides said the meetings are not part of efforts to form a coalition but to outline Olmert’s policies.
Olmert will meet Amir Peretz on Tuesday, Avigdor Lieberman of Israel Our Home, Eli Yishai of Shas, the heads of the Arab parties, haredi party leader and Effie Eitan of the Pensioners party.
Aides want party leaders to meet Olmert before meeting Katsav who will put Olmert in charge of forming the next government.
Ronnie Sofer contributed to this report