TEL AVIV (May. 8)
Leon Dulzin officially removed himself from the contest for chairman of the Liberal Party today. He said the agreement reached at the party’s convention last night stripped the chairmanship of authority and mode his candidacy meaningless.
Under the agreement, Deputy Premier Simcha Ehrlich will retain the past of chairman. But the real power will be vested in the newly created position of chairman of the party’s Presidium which Energy Minister Yitzhok Modai is expected to fill. Another new post, chairman of the Executive, will go to Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Nissim. The Liberals are Herut’s partner in Likud.
Dulzin, who is chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Executives, challenged Ehrlich some time ago and appeared confident, when the convention opened this week, that he would have the support of the large faction controlled by Modai, a long-time rival and critic of Ehrlich.
But Modai reached an agreement with the Ehrlich group instead. Ehrlich himself acknowledged that the chairmanship is no longer “an executive” office but said he was willing to share his experience with the chairman of the Presidium, who “I hope will be Modai.” Dulzin admitted that he was “disappointed, greatly disappointed,” but insisted that “I seek no power. I need not another crown.”
Modai appears likely to be the new “strong man” of the Liberals. But he faces a challenge from Israel Peled, Mayor of Ramat Gan, and possibly from Minister of Trade Gidean Patt. His sudden ascendancy puzzled many observers inasmuch as the Modai faction won only 30 percent of the convention vote. But the balance was split among various other candidates.