Conflict Subsides in Herut Party over Incorporating La’am Faction

The opposing groups in the Herut Central Committee — followers of Herut leader and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir and those of Deputy Premier David Levy — both declared themselves satisfied with a ruling by the Herut Party’s Central Court last Friday on an appeal by Levy supporters against a vote to incorporate the tiny La’am faction in the party.

The court ruled that the Central Committee’s decision, which the supporters of Levy claim was forced through in an illegal vote at the end of a stormy session last week by Shamir, was valid, but could be overturned by another Central Committee meeting if this were requested by 175 members.

Shamir’s supporters were jubilant that the court had declared the La’am incorporation legal, even though Shamir, seizing leadership of the stormy session from a powerless official chairman Avraham Schechterman, had conducted a hasty vote by a show of hands amid total pandemonium.

The dispute over the conduct of the vote to incorporate the La’am faction stems from the faction’s relatively small, though strident support for Shamir over Levy, who hopes to oppose Shamir for Herut leadership when new Knesset elections are held. Under the tentative agreement last week, La’am members are to receive nine percent of the representation on Herut bodies. The faction is led by Ehud Olmert. Herut Party supporters of Levy said they would have no problems obtaining the 175 signatures for a new Central Committee meeting at which a proper secret ballot could be held on the incorporation issue. Even though they will not be able to prevent a merger, the vote will show Levy’s strength in any confrontation with Shamir, the Levy supporter’s assert. The renewed Central Committee meeting will probably be held within one month, Herut Party sources said.

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