Olmert maneuvers to remain prime minister

Thursday, July 10, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday agreed to a deal whereby the winner of an upcoming primary election in his Kadima Party will immediately replace him as prime minister, but with one big "if."

Senior Kadima sources confirmed the deal to Israel's Channel 1 News after a lengthy meeting between Olmert and the four Kadima leadership candidates - Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter and Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit.

However, Olmert associates later told reporters that the beleaguered prime minister only agreed to the deal because it also contains a clause stating that if the winner of the Kadima primary is unable to form a new majority government, then Olmert is to remain head of the current government until the next national election.

The chances of Livni, Mofaz, Dichter or Sheetrit successfully forming a new majority government are considered small.

The Kadima primary is scheduled to take place in mid-September.

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