Likud In-Fighting Looms with Gov’t Expansion on the Horizon

While a motion to expand the cabinet looks likely to pass its second and third readings on Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu still faces an uphill battle in doling out those added ministerial posts within his party. 

Likud is expected to retain 12 portfolios in the new government, Channel 2 reports, but to Netanyahu's chagrin there are more top party officials than available positions. 

As such, Netanyahu has remained mum on who he plans to gift with a portfolio, unwilling to meet with senior Likudniks until after the expansion bill's victory is assured in the Knesset on Wednesday. 

Still, rumors over who will receive what abound, particularly as Netanyahu plans to swear in his government as early as Thursday. 

After being passed over for the Foreign Ministry when Netanyahu decided to keep the post for himself, ministers Yuval Steinitz, Silvan Shalom and Gilad Erdan are now all fighting for the interior portfolio. 

Erdan, who held the post in the last Knesset, personally met with the Prime Minister, Channel 2 reported, and insisted he should receive the public security portfolio as well. 

So far, two specific Likud MKs have been promised portfolios: Benny Begin, who just returned to political life this year, and Haim Katz. 

Other likely possibilities to receive portfolios are previous ministers – Moshe Ya'alon, Yisrael Katz, Steinitz, Erdan, and Shalom – as well as MKs Ze'ev Elkin and Yariv Levin, who conducted coalition negotiations on behalf of Likud. 

By all indications, MKs Miri Regev and Gila Gamliel will also be appointed to serve as ministers, leaving Danny Danon, Ofir Akunis, Tzahi Hanegbi and Tzipi Hotovely to duke it out for the last spot. 

In the meantime, Netanyahu has until Monday to swear-in a government, leaving him with mere days to appoint the right balance of ministers and committee chairs to keep all his party members satisfied. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195362

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