There will be a press conference on Thursday night at 8:00 PM in the Dan Panorama Hotel in Jerusalem, where they will officially announce the merger.
Channel 2 said the joint party will be called “Likud-Beyteinu”. Netanyahu will be number 1 on the list, followed by Liberman who will be his number 2.
Liberman used to be a member of the Likud, and broke away to form his own party in 1997. At the time the speculation was this was part of a larger master plan, where Liberman would attract the Russian votes that the Likud couldn’t, and support the Likud with the seats they gained.
The Likud currently has 27 seats, and Yisrael Beiteinu 15. This merger has the potential to increase their seats, as well as practically guarantee that they will be the largest party and bloc in the upcoming election.
Internal surveys say the joint list could win up to 50 seats.
(Carl) If we as a country are foolish enough to do this, then we as a country deserve the lousy retread leadership we would get. A JPost poll has a ‘center left mega party’ including former Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert, former Prime Minister Tzipi Livni, convicted sex offender Haim Ramon (who once told Ted Koppel that if his party has just one more vote than the other side, they can crush the other side), and the vapid Yair Lapid, would win 31 Knesset seats as compared with 22 for the Likud.
The poll found that such a party would win more seats than Likud, which would receive 22 mandates. Yisrael Beytenu would come in third, with 14 mandates, closely followed by Labor with 12, and Shas with 11 seats.
The poll of 500 people representing the general population was conducted on October 9 and 10, and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent.
The poll results follow reports of progress on Wednesday by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s political opponents, in their efforts to build a “Center-Left mega-party” that could pose a serious challenge to him in the upcoming general election.
Netanyahu officially informed President Shimon Peres of his intention to advance the elections, in a meeting at the President’s Residence on Wednesday. Peres expressed hope that the elections would be clean.
Netanyahu finalized the election date on Thursday. The date is acceptable to all the coalition parties and is just two days after the inauguration of the president of the United States.
Ramon’s first preference is for former prime minister Ehud Olmert to lead the mega-party, which would bring together former Kadima head Tzipi Livni, current Kadima MKs and other well-known figures on the Left. He would also want Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid’s party to join.
Olmert told a stream of visitors to his office and home on Wednesday that he would decide whether to run within a week or two after receiving the results of in-depth surveys.
Livni, who met recently with Olmert, will not decide her political future until she returns from a lecture tour in the US in the middle of next week.
While popular former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi is legally prevented from running for Knesset, Olmert, who is close to Ashkenazi, would present him as his candidate for defense minister if he chooses to make a comeback.
If Olmert heads a Center- Left bloc he would be able to form a coalition with religious parties and with Yisrael Beytenu, whose leader, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, met with Olmert this week.
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz has said in closed conversations that he would not stand in the way of an Olmert comeback, but he is not expected to cooperate with an effort to reinstate Livni as head of the Center-Left bloc after he defeated her by a landslide in Kadima’s leadership race.
Itzik expressed confidence that Mofaz would be willing to make political compromises for the good of the country.