Pensioners Chairman Rafi Eitan said that his party had signed two agreements: A parliamentary cooperation with Kadima and a coalition agreement.
According to the coalition agreement, the Pensioners will receive two ministers – the health minister and a minister at the Prime Minister's Office. In addition, they will receive the Labor, Social Affairs and Health committee chairmanship. A subcommittee will be established as part of the Economics Committee, which will only deal with the Pensioners matter. In addition, the Pensioners will receive the role of deputy Knesset chairman.
According to the parliamentary cooperation agreement, the two factions will in fact operate as one.
Eitan said: "We embarked on our path only 10 weeks ago, in the course of which we managed to work and reach this exciting stage."
According to the coalition agreement between the two parties, the government will work to raise the basic old age allowance and a sum of NIS 200 million will be earmarked for the matter. The budgetary cuts in the pensions implemented in 2002 will be cancelled, and the allocation of funds for the pensioners' income supplement will be raised.
Coalition agreement signed (Photo: Eli Elgarat)
According to Eitan, "our first objective was to deal with the pensioners' matters. We also wanted to care for the next generations, we want to care for the pensioners for generations. This we can only do through the agreement we signed."
Eitan added that "we signed a coalition agreement with two parts: The budgetary issues, which includes the sums invested in the pensioners, and the issue of the key positions the Pensioners will have in the Israeli government."
The coalition agreement between the Labor Party and Kadima is expected to be sign soon, although an exact date has not been set yet. On Wednesday it was decided that Labor will receive the chairmanship of the Internal Affairs Committee and the Education Committee. In addition, Labor will apparently chair the Committee for Children's Rights.
In the meantime, Labor Party Chairman Amir Peretz convened senior party members Tuesday night in order to update them on the developments in the coalition negotiations and on his accomplishments before Labor enters the government.
Peretz also reported a number of differences of opinion with Kadima, both on the economic and on the political issues, alongside significant accomplishments for the party.
Difficulties in negotiations with haredi parties
Knesset Member Gideon Saar (Likud) called on the Shas and Israel Our Home parties to stop humiliating themselves in the negotiations to enter the Olmert-Peretz government.
"The coalition negotiations proved that this government's policy will be a unilateral withdrawal, which (Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor) Lieberman and (Shas Chairman Eli) Yishai promised to oppose," he said.
Saar added that it has turned out that these three parties will have no influence as junior partners in a government headed by Kadima and Labor.
"I call on Shas and Israel Our Home to join a national parliamentary force that will work to shorten the term of the Olmert-Peretz government," he said.
"It is not certain anymore that we will join the government. We are less optimistic than in the beginning of the road," sources in Shas said Tuesday night.
According to a senior party official, "Olmert's amateurish conduct opposite the Labor party created a situation which has become objectively impossible for us. The picture will be made clear within 24 hours."
Olmert may have successfully completed the negotiations with the Labor party, but in terms of the ultra-Orthodox parties the road is still long.
A senior Shas member said that three fundamental issues have not been solved yet: The convergence issue, the pensions and the portfolios.