Photo: Gil Yohanan
Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Photo: Ofer Amram
MK Ophir Paz-Pines. Previous attempt failed
Photo: Ofer Amram
Photo: Salva Greenberg
MK Zahava Gal-On. Danger to democracy
Photo: Salva Greenberg
Photo: Ofer Amram
MK Shelly Yacimovich. No magical solutions
Photo: Ofer Amram

Olmert, Lieberman agree to change system of government

In meeting between PM, Israel Our Home chairman on Friday, leaders agree that from start of upcoming Knesset parliamentary session, two parties will promote legislation aimed at changing form of government in Israel, writing up constitution

Lieberman to join government? Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Friday with chairman of Israel Our Home, Knesset Member Avigdor Lieberman. The two agreed that from the start of the upcoming Knesset parliamentary session on October 16, Kadima and Lieberman's party would work to promote legislation to bring about a change in the system of government in Israel and to create a constitution for the State.


Following the meeting with Lieberman, Olmert briefed Labor Party Chairman and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Peretz's associates said that "it is Olmert's right to meet with whoever he wants," and noted that they were unmoved by the meeting.


Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that Olmert and Lieberman spoke for two hours and discussed a variety of issues, including coalition matters.


However, Olmert's aides noted that "if there was any coalition meaning in what was agreed, we would have been happy to announce it. At the moment there is no change in the coalition structure. Nothing has been agreed upon yet between the prime minister and the Israel Our Home chairman."


On Thursday, Ynet reported that Lieberman has stipulated that Israel Our Home would join the coalition on the condition that the form of government in the country is changed. Lieberman told Ynet that Kadima's support for the issue would be an indication that the ruling party wishes to see Israel Our Home in the government.


"There are no contacts with Olmert or his aides," Lieberman said Thursday. "I stipulated five conditions for joining the coalition. They (Kadima) were fine regarding the realignment plan and the illegal outposts. But the real test is the issue of the presidential regime, the change in the form of government and the civil marriage law, which is critical. This is what we have to agree on," he explained.


On the first week of the Knesset session, Lieberman plans to submit a bill on changing the system of government. "If Kadima allows its members freedom of voting, I would consider this an indication that the prime minister wants us in," he stressed.


MK Pines: This is vain enchantment

Sources in the Labor party estimate that if Israel Our Home joins the government, Labor won't be able to oppose it. According to one source, "At the end of the day, Olmert will find the common ground between the two parties."


Another source says, "We will flex our muscles because we won't have a choice, but ultimately, we won't be able to oppose Lieberman joining the coalition in the reality created in Israel after the war."


However, MK Shelly Yacimovich (Lbor) said: "On the issue of changing the form of government, it is best that the prime minister and the ministers deal with the content and the essence instead of looking for magical solutions for fixing the ills of Israeli society."


"Israel Our Home is an extreme right party, and such contacts between them and Kadima act as a declaration that there is no intention to advance even a little in the political process. Labor won't be able to come to terms with this," Yacimovich added.


Minister of Science, Culture, and Sport MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said he is decisively opposed to the agreement between Olmert and Lieberman.


"The earlier attempt to change the form of government with direct elections failed. Again, this is a vain enchantment. There is danger in a presidential system without a constitution," said Pine.


Meretz Chairman Zahava Gal-On said in response to the Olmert-Lieberman initiative to change Israel's form of government and to write up a constitution, "This is an initiative that is dangerous to democracy."


According to her, "A constitution needs to protect the rights of the citizen and not to strengthen the position of the government. We don't need to change the form of government, but the people serving and their policies that are making another exercise in escaping responsibility."


פרסום ראשון: 10.07.06, 21:02
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