Likud chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu announced, earlier on Tuesday, that the remaining four Likud ministers in the cabinet will resign from the government at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Netanyahu has been working in order to convince all Likud ministers to resign from the government since his election as a Likud leader more than two weeks ago. He resigned from his position as a treasury minister shortly before Israel started implementing the Disengagement plan.
Minister of Education Limor Livnat [Likud], expressed reservations over quitting the government, and had advanced arguments with Netanyahu, demanding to remain within the cabinet until the March 2006 elections in Israel.
Netanyahu held a two-hour meeting with the four Likud minister in Tel Aviv on Monday, and managed to convince them to resign from their posts and let him decide when the resignation would be.
One of Netanyahu’s aides said that the meeting between Netanyahu and the ministers was "difficult". The meeting continued for two hours while it was only to take an hour.
Livnat and minister Sylvan Shalom voiced their resistance to an immediate resignation from the government.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Sharon held a 30 minute one-on-one meeting with Shalom before the group meeting.
Also, Haaretz added that Netanyahu wanted the ministers to resign earlier this week, but was persuaded to hold off at least until after Sharon underwent a cardiac catheterization procedure scheduled for Thursday.
Meanwhile, Sharon intends to appoint five or six Kadima Knesset members to fill some of the 11 cabinet portfolios which will be free after the resignation of Likud ministers, Limor Livnat, Health Minister Dan Naveh, Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom, and Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz.
Sharon will most likely appoint Ze’ev Boim and Yaakov Edri; both are deputy ministers, in addition to members of Knesset Shimon Peres, Haim Ramon, Roni Bar-On and Dalia Itzik.
Also, Netanyahu presented the findings of a survey of Likud members regarding the issue of quitting the government, but according to aides of some ministers, the poll showed that most Likud members want it to remain in the government.
Shalom said that if the Likud ministers leave the government now, Sharon and his new Kadima party would benefit from appearing to be in the center of the political map, and the Likud party would seem more right-wing.
Several ministerial aides, who were not allowed into the meeting, confirmed that some of their bosses had pleaded with Netanyahu not to make them resign, Haaretz reported.
Haaretz added that Sharon is currently responsible for the following ministries; Interior construction and housing, environment, national infrastructures, communications, science and technology, and labor and social affairs.
The Israeli general elections will be held in March 28, 2006; not of the empty profiles will be filled until the time of the elections.