As a result of the surprise Likud-Kadima coalition deal, Labor party chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich is expected to become the leader of one of the smallest-ever opposition factions in the Knesset, with just 26 MKs remaining outside the unity government.
Yachimovich, a former journalist who entered the Knesset just six years ago, was predicted in recent polls to lead a resurgent Labor Party to 18 seats if early elections were held, which would have made Labor the second-largest party after the Likud.
“I wanted elections — that is not a secret,” she said in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday morning. “It’s also not a secret that the Labor Party is very strong with the public. We will wait patiently.”
“I intend to be the head of the opposition,” she confirmed, calling the coalition deal “dirty and disgusting.”
“There are a lot of social issues, economic issues, that the public is very passionate about,” she added. “Mofaz said he would work for social justice, but from where? With Netanyahu? After this deal, there isn’t a chance that the public can believe in politicians.”
The opposition leader is chosen by votes from the Knesset members outside the ruling coalition. With the new arrangement, Labor is the largest single party in the opposition, making Yachimovich the prime candidate.
Walla reported that a number of Knesset members from the Arab parties, all of whom sit in the opposition and whom together have more mandates than Labor, were discussing an agreement to create a rotating position for opposition leader, which would lock out Yachimovich from the position.
However, there seems to be no consensus for such a move. “I personally oppose the initiative and urge my friends to oppose it,” said MK Ibrahim Sarsur, head of the United Arab List.