Economics professor Manuel Trajtenberg has been appointed to the #11 spot on the Labor list, Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog announced Saturday night – despite earlier reports that former Military Intelligence (MI) chief Amos Yadlin had been slated for the reserved spot.
Herzog also explicitly stated that Trajtenberg is the party's choice for Finance Minister, according to Walla! News.
Both Herzog and Hatnua faction leader Tzipi Livni specifically appointed Trajtenberg to the Labor list, and announced their intention to appoint him as Finance Minister during a special press conference on January 1.
Trajtenberg is considered to be well-qualified for the position, as he headed a special committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to examine complaints by protesters during the social protests of summer 2011. The Trajtenberg Committee, as the 2011 panel came to be known, recommended a long list of reforms in taxation, construction, reducing the defense budget, increasing minimum wage levels, instituting state-mandated pensions, and a slew of other issues, some of which have been adopted, and others that are still being discussed by the Knesset.
Labor is expected to gain 22-24 seats in the 20th Knesset, according to recent polls, and is competing with Likud for the top spot, which would give the party the power to form a coalition within 60 days after elections and run the next government; as such, the #11 spot near-guarantees Trajtenberg a Knesset seat.
The same cannot be said for fellow candidate and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, however – who was rumored to be intended for the coveted #11 place and was hailed as the pick for Defense Minister under a Labor government.
Yadlin may choose not to remain in the Knesset if Labor doesn’t head the coalition, however, and Channel 1 news reported this week that his seat in national politics may be contingent solely on how the party fares in the March 17 elections.