Prime Minister Netanyahu
Photo: AFP
Top minister criticizes PM's economic policy
Likud minister warns 'budget cuts, tax increase will push voters away.' Failure to pass budget could spell early elections
In light of the expected budget cuts and economic measures announced by the government, senior Likud officials criticized the Finance Ministry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new economic measures, expressing concern that the party may suffer serious electoral damage.


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"For the past three years we've heard that everything is wonderful, yet suddenly we find that there's a NIS 30 billion (about $7.5 billion) gap in the budget. This means that things weren't as good as Netanyahu and Steinitz presented them," a top minister said on Thursday.


נתניהו ושטייניץ. מצג שווא? (צילום: משה מילנר,לע"מ)

Benjamin Netanyahu and Yuval Steinitz (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)


"If we take today's unemployment rate which stands at 8% and add the ultra orthodox, which nobody takes into account, then we won't be like Spain; we're already Spain. It's unclear how things which were seemingly good are now bad and we're forced to make budget cuts, raise taxes and take a beating in the public eye," said the minister.


Top coalition members estimated that in a few weeks it will be clear whether the elections will be scheduled before the expected end of term. The Prime Minister's Office stated that Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with coalition leaders in order to determine whether the 2013 budget can be approved.


A senior official noted that "if Netanyahu sees that coalition partners won't approve the economic measures and severe budget cuts this will likely lead to elections in the beginning of the year."


It is unclear whether Yisrael Beiteinu and Shas will approve of painful budget cuts. Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman recently estimated that the budget won't pass and the elections will move up to the beginning of the year.


Shas' stance on the matter is still unclear but senior party members have said in the past that in light of the expected 2013 budget, earlier elections are unavoidable.





First published: 08.02.12, 22:32
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