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      Hotovely: Don't Place Barak in Likud List

      New reports say that Netanyahu wants the defense minister on the Likud roster for the next elections.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 1/3/2012, 9:24 AM

      Barak and Netanyahu
      Barak and Netanyahu
      Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is taking steps that would enable him to "plant" Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the Likud list for the next elections, reports Maariv. MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said Tuesday morning that she would take steps to prevent this plan from materializing.

      According to the report, Netanyahu is pressing for a reform of the internal elections process in the party that would make it possible to set aside four spots in the list for external candidates. The general consensus among observers is that this step is meant to allow Barak to receive high placement in the list's "top ten."

      The other spots may be intended for Barak's cohorts in the Independence faction, including Minister Shalom Simchon. The faction broke off from the Labor party a year ago, when Barak realized that he could face a mutiny within the party if he continued to sit in the Likud-led coalition.

      The idea of setting aside seats for Barak and his comrades is not new, but Maariv says that this time, Netanyahu is combining the initiative with a procedural move that would also make it easier for currently serving MKs to be reelected. This presumably would lessen the opposition to the move.

      Polls predict that if Barak's Independence faction runs on its own, it would not make it into the 19th Knesset.