Outgoing Likud MK Fires Arrows in All Directions

MK Uzi Landau, #14 on the Likud list - he will not be in the next Knesset - said this morning that the Likud's crushing defeat "was an earthquake, which is generally followed by aftershocks."

Hillel Fendel, | updated: 09:00

Asked to pinpoint the reasons for his party's failure in the election, Landau blamed his fellow former ministers, the media, the economy, and more.

Considered the leader of the "orange"/hawkish/anti-Disengagement camp within the Likud, Landau told Army Radio, "We partially deserved the punishment the public gave us, but not totally." Listing the party's sins, he said, "We zig-zagged, promising things to the voters which we didn't deliver. Our internal infighting was also to blame. In addition, our ministers were perceived as being too stuck to their ministerial seats; we claimed one thing, but did something else."

This last point is possibly Landau's most emphatic point. He himself voted against the Disengagement plan as early as October 2004, even though he knew Sharon would promptly fire him, which he did. When the interviewer asked if he is therefore blaming former Ministers Silvan Shalom, Limor Livnat, Danny Naveh and others for his party's failure, Landau said he does not want to mention names.

Landau rejected the notion that his party was punished for being too right-wing: "We lost some voters who went even further to the right than us - but our hard-core supporters remained with us, or simply stayed home and didn't vote... I am proud that I and others showed that not all politicians can be bought, and that some of them stand on their principles."

Another reason for the Likud's failure, Landau feels, involved the economic reforms led by party leader Binyamin Netanyahu when he served as Finance Minister. "What we were unfairly punished for was the economic policy," Landau said. "People told us that because their pensions decreased, they wouldn't vote for us." The Pensioners' Party in fact scored a totally unexpected success, jumping from oblivion to 7 Knesset seats.

Landau also blamed the media to a certain extent. "Look," he said, "I ran against Bibi [Netanyahu] for party leader, and I have some criticism of him - but what was done to him by some of the media, especially Channel Two and Yediot Acharonot, was simply a targeted killing. I believe the media should perform a self-reckoning of its role in the campaign; it did not act like the watchdog of democracy it is supposed to be."

Landau said he believes it is in the nationalist camp's interest to form a united right-wing bloc in the Knesset. "At present, there does not exist a Jewish majority in the Knesset for the unilateral withdrawal plan, and certainly not the overwhelming majority that would be necessary for such a plan."

Likud MK Michael Eitan, #6 on the party's list, said, "We paid the price for everything - for carrying out the Disengagement, for objecting to the Disengagement, and for the economic plan."

Netanyahu said last night that he plans to remain in his position and lead the party "back to better times." Silvan Shalom, who lost to Netanyahu in a recent race for party leadership, reportedly plans to ask for another vote so that he can try again.

If in fact the Likud ends up with 11 MKs - it won 38 in the previous election - its abbreviated party faction will look like this:
Netanyahu, Shalom, Moshe Kachlon, Gilad Erdan, Gideon Sa'ar, Eitan, Ruby Rivlin, Naveh, Shteinitz, Livnat, and Natan Sharansky. A slight majority exists for those who opposed the Disengagement.




top