Herut Unanimously Reelects Shamir, but Other Party Leaders to Be Challenged

Premier Yitzhak Shamir was unanimously re-elected leader of Herut at the party’s convention here Sunday. There was no opposition. The proceedings were conducted in good order, in sharp contrast to the scene a year ago when the convention broke up in chaos before any ballots were cast and Shamir, then Foreign Minister, had to be escorted from the hall under a police guard for his own protection.

But rivalries continue to simmer and may become apparent when ballots for other key party posts are counted by early Monday morning. Shamir appealed to the 2,000 delegates to vote for the three incumbents, all Cabinet Ministers, and to spurn the Knesset members challenging them. The party has been fermenting since Menachem Begin resigned from political life in 1983.

Deputy Premier and Housing Minister David Levy is seeking re-election as deputy chairman of Herut. He was opposed by Herut MK Meir Cohen-Avidov. Minister of Commerce and Industry Ariel Sharon was opposed for the office of Central Committee chairman by MK Eli Ovadia who also is Mayor of Afula. MK Yoram Aridor challenged Minister-Without-Portfolio Moshe Arens for the post of chairman of the party Secretariat.

NO NEGOTIATIONS WITH PLO

Shamir, in a brief, impassioned speech, vowed that the administered territories would belong to Israel forever, He denounced any form of international conference for Middle East peace and reiterated that Israel would never, under any circumstances, negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Although Shamir seems firmly ensconced as party leader, the consensus among observers is that he will be challenged again whenever new Knesset elections are announced.

NEXT STORY