PM to appoint new ministers from Kadima in gov’t meeting

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected Sunday morning to appoint members of his new party, Kadima, to the ministerial positions vacated by the Labor party that resigned from the government last week. Sharon’s aides said the new appointments are temporary, and will only be made permanent on the 9th of December. Likud ministers are expected to abstain from the vote approving the appointments of the new ministers. Earlier, President Moshe Katsav categorically denied reports claiming he was asked by Likud members to lead the party in the upcoming March general elections. A spokesperson for the President, Hagit Cohen, said Katsav had not known of any such requests by Likud members. „If there are any such initiatives, the president says they should cease immediately,” Cohen added. Katsav responded to a Channel 2 report that claimed Likud members launched an initiative to try to persuade him to lead their party in a bid to save it from a predicted electoral defeat, following the creation of Sharon’s new party Kadima. Earlier on Saturday, Katsav said that the forthcoming March elections will be the true referendum on Israel’s political path and future borders. „This time, it is the true referendum,” Katsav said in an interview to Israel Radio. „We must reach a decision in the debate that has been going on for 38 years since the Six-Day War.” „The parties must present the voters with clear, responsible positions on all the issues that are on the balance, including the state’s permanent borders,” Katsav said.