Olmert and Peres – will government last?
Koren pessimistic about Bibi's prospects
Photo: Tal Cohen
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's soon-to-be-formed government is unlikely to stay in place for the full four years as a result of Kadima's need to join forces with many coalition partners, a leading public policy expert told Ynet.
"There are too many coalition partners," Tel Aviv University Professor Dani Koren said. "The closer the next elections come…the parties will think more about how they look in the eyes of their constituencies and less about staying in the coalition, and the government will collapse."
Koren is also pessimistic about the prospects of Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to stay on as chairman of the former ruling party, which all but collapsed in the recent elections.
"Netanyahu is stuck between the result the Likud achieved in the elections and his blatant responsibility for this failure," Koren says. "He won't be able to make it as the party's chairman. There are simply too many people who want to remove him."
Koren says Olmert needs to think of two kinds of coalitions he must form, one dedicated to socioeconomic issues and another one that would back his "convergence" plan of further West Bank pullouts.
"If we look at the coalition that backs convergence: Kadima, Labor, the Pensioners Party and Meretz, we get 61 Knesset seats. And We must remember nine more mandates from the Arab parties, which will back the move from outside the government," Koren says, but adds: "He won't be passing the convergence plan tomorrow morning, and therefore he doesn't need this kind of coalition at this time."
Olmert will make sure to include a religious party in his coalition, Koren adds, either Shas or United Torah Judaism.
"It's likely to assume Olmert would prefer to include United torah Judaism, because they won't bolt the coalition in case Olmert implements the convergence plan, as opposed to Shas" the political expert says, noting that UTJ remained in the Sharon government despite the disengagement plan.
Olmert may also choose to include the rightist Israel Our Home party in the coalition, but only as long as party leader Avigdor Lieberman agrees to renounce his own diplomatic plans, at least for the time being, Koren says.
According to Koren, this prospect is possible, as "Lieberman is a very pragmatic person."
The leftist Meretz, meanwhile, is highly interested in joining the government, but Olmert has no intention of investing a special effort on this front, Koren says.
"They can be an addition, but not a required component," he says.
The surprising Pensioners Party, however, is good for Olmert for two reasons, according to Koren. On the one hand, they would likely back Kadima's diplomatic plan, and at the same time, Olmert is planning to earmark more money for social causes to accommodate the Labor party, so would have no problem giving money to the elderly.