Photos: Ohad Zwigenberg, Ofer Amram, Haim Zach, Ido Erez
Moshe Kahlon
Photo: Moti Kimhi
Kahlon considers forming new political party
Minister considering running in upcoming elections as head of new party with social agenda after poll showed he would get 20 Knesset seats
Minister Moshe Kahlon is considering forming a new political party and running in the upcoming elections after a poll showed he would get 20 Knesset seats if he entered the race, Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth reported Wednesday.


Earlier this month, Kahlon announced he was taking a break from politics but promised he was not leaving the Likud. Now he is considering his future in politics but as head of a new movement with a social agenda.


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The minister has ordered another survey to gage public support and is expected to receive the results on Thursday.


Dozens of Likud activists have called on Kahlon to enter the race seeing him as someone who could tip the scale in the elections. He is set to reach a decision in a few days, according to one of his associates.


A survey conducted by Rafi Smith showed that a socialist party headed by Kahlon would get at least 20 Knesset seats at the expense of the Likud, Yesh Atid and the Labor.


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Kahlon was first elected for the 16th Knesset in 2003, and was ranked first on the Likud list in the elections for the 17th Knesset. He was sixth on the list in the last elections.


In March 2009, after Netanyahu assumed the role or prime minister for a second time, Kahlon was appointed as communications minister, and as such he instigated widespread reform in the cell phone service industry.


His efforts facilitated the introduction of several new service providers, a step that led to a significant reduction in service prices. In January 2011 he was named social affairs minister as well.


This past July, he was the only Likud minister to oppose a series of budget cuts approved by the government. He decided to vote against

the financial measures because they failed to include provisions for the elderly, the disabled and welfare recipients.


His departure from the Likud was met with shock by the party's members. Netanyahu had tried to convince him to stay in the party by promising him senior positions in the next government and also praised him in public for his work as communications and welfare minister.


However, behind the scenes Kahlon was heard harshly criticizing Netanyahu and his socio-economic policy.


The minister's spokesman said he was unaware of the details of the report.


Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent



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