It appears that even after the counting of the IDF votes, the Shas party remains with eight seats and will be the third largest party in the new Knesset. This will undoubtedly lead party chairman, Minister Aryeh Deri, to present Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a hefty list of demands regarding which cabinet portfolios and positions he seeks for party members.
Next week, President Reuven Rivlin will begin meeting with party leaders to determine who they recommend for the presidential mandate to form the next coalition government. Deri has already stated that he will recommend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Once coalition negotiations begin, Deri is expected to seek three ministerial portfolios; the Interior, Negev & Galil Development and Religious Services ministries. In addition, he will also demand the return of the Planning Directorate to the Interior Ministry, where it was until it was given to the control of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon following the 2015 Knesset elections. It is not unlikely that Deri will also make a play for the Immigration & Absorption portfolio, as the party has shown success with the French aliyah, which was handled by Deri’s nephew, Avraham Deri.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)