Friday, September 19, 2008
Livni Wants Olmert to Resign
The elected leader of the Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, said at the faction's Friday session that it was time for Ehud Olmert to resign as Prime Minister. "Olmert said that he intended to retire once the results are in and I expressed my appreciation to him for the way his era ended," she said. "From this moment on, because we have a country to run, we must act quickly. Vice Prime Minister Chaim Ramon, a close associate of Ehud Olmert, disagreed with Livni and said that she should ask Olmert to stay in office until she forms an alternative government. "This is necessary so that we do not lose control of the process," he said. "Tactically, it is wrong for Olmert to resign before there is an alternative government."
MK Tzachi HaNegbi sided with Livni's position and said that "only a resignation by the Prime Minister will move the process forward and make the options for partnership clear."
Livni Trying to Avoid Coalition Talks
Livni meanwhile is trying to convince the Shas and Labor parties that there is no need for negotiating a new coalition agreement with them. Shas and Labor both want Livni to negotiate with them and are threatening that they will initiate general elections otherwise.
Livni attempted to out-bluff Labor Thursday and told senior Labor members that she is not afraid of elections herself. She reportedly said that that their choices were "a government headed by me now or elections in 90 days."
"A few months ago you wanted to replace Ehud Olmert without leading to elections at the end of
"We've gotten rid of a person who could have created an entire camp to oppose us in Kadima."
the process," Livni told senior Labor members, "but now you want to reopen coalition agreements."
Livni Confidantes 'Pleased' Mofaz Left
A source close to Livni voiced satisfaction Friday at Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz's announcement that he would take a break from politics. "It's good for us," the source told IDF Radio. "We've gotten rid of a person who could have created an entire camp to oppose us in Kadima."
"No more ethnic matters in Kadima, no more workers' councils. Now we can concentrate on getting things done," the source added.
'Sorry About Mofaz's Decision'
Livni presided over the first Kadima faction meeting Friday morning since she was elected Kadima's leader, and said she was "very sorry about [Shaul] Mofaz's decision and that he is not here with us today."
Flanked by Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit and MK Yoel Hasson, Livni said: "I do not believe in camps. There will be no camps in Kadima. Mofaz must continue to contribute in the government and the Knesset."
MK Elkin: Kadima Meeting 'Fake Show of Unity'
MK Ze'ev Elkin, a supporter of Mofaz's candidacy to lead Kadima, said Friday that he would not be going to the faction's meeting because it was "a false show of unity."
Another Mofaz supporter, Minister Ze'ev Boim, also missed the meeting but cited "a family event" as the reason.
Livni Meeting Meretz, Pensioners Heads
Livni was scheduled to meet Friday with the chairman of the Pensioners' Party, Minister Rafi Eitan, and the head of Meretz, MK Chaim Oron.
Saturday evening she is scheduled to meet National Religious Party chief Zevulun Orlev in order to discuss the possibility that the NRP could join her government.