Kadima Prepares to Submit Party List; Ramon in Hospital

Former minister and senior Kadima party member Haim Ramon will miss the official presentation of the party's list of candidates tomorrow at Jerusalem's International Convention Center, after being hospitalized for chest pain yesterday.

Ramon, who is slated for the seventh position on the Knesset list, was hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer where he underwent a cardiac catheterization. The procedure successfully cleared a clotted cardiac artery.

Sheba hospital released a statement saying that Ramon is in "excellent" condition and is "under standard medical supervision, as is customary in such incidents." The 54 year-old Ramon told Haaretz by phone that he feels well but will have to stay in the hospital through the end of the week.

At tomorrow's event, the first 50 candidates on the list will be presented, and the party's campaign will be launched, after delays stemming from the hospitalization of party founder Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who will figure prominently in the campaign. The event will also see the launch of the party's campaign jingle.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday decided to put MK Michael Nudelman in the 27th slot on Kadima's list of candidates for the next Knesset.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had promised the former National Union member the 20th position, but Olmert wanted a younger Russian-speaking candidate in the second group of ten, in order to attract young Russian-speakers votes, a problematic population for Kadima.

Breach of promise

Nudelman considers the move a breach of promise, after the warm relationship he developed with Sharon during recent months, particularly after his support of the Gaza disengagement plan - in direct opposition to his party's stance - helped the Sharon administration survive. Nudelman and Olmert reportedly had an angry exchange in which Nudelman asked "Which blond do you want to replace me with?" However, in an official statement Nudelman said he had no reservations about his place on the list.

The positions reserved for Russian-speakers have not all been assigned, with the party prepared to present its list tomorrow.

Deputy absorption minister Marina Solodkin, very popular with the Russian-speaking public, has been assigned the sixth slot.

The party is also expected to place a Russian-speaker in each following group of ten through the Number 50 slot.

Open letter to Olmert

The heads of Emda, a monitoring group for the implementation of promises made by politicians to new immigrants, sent an open letter to Olmert protesting the manner in which he was choosing Russian speakers on the list.

They made references to Israel Plus TV host Anastasia Michaeli and former CEO of the Russian-language newspaper Vesti, Yulia Shemlov Berkowitz: "Who was the one to decide that being a parent of six or having a portfolio of journalistic failures are the necessary qualifications for resolving the problems Israel faces?"

They continued in the letter, "Are you slotting Russian-speaking candidates on your list to make Kadima stronger, or to become a joke in the eyes of Russian-speaking voters?"