Olmert's party turns on him

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party on Tuesday began discussing ways to respectfully remove their leader from office in order to avoid early elections in the wake of a damaging appraisal of the government's handling of the Second Lebanon War.

Reacting to a quickly mounting public outcry for Olmert's resignation, Coalition Chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki stated that the prime minister would have to step down.

Yitzhaki met with a number of Kadima lawmakers with the intention of organizing a large group within the party to ask Olmert to resign in a face-saving manner.

If Olmert refuses to resign, Yitzhaki told Israel Radio that he and a number of other party officials will.

Yitzhaki and other Kadima officials fear that the longer Olmert remains at the helm, the greater the chances that the opposition will succeed in forcing early elections.

And if early elections are held, all polls indicate that Kadima will be seriously downsized within the Knesset, while the Likud Party will rise to power by a large margin of victory.

The preferred replacement for Olmert as head of Kadima is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who maintains her public popularity and was left unscathed by the Winograd Commission into the execution of the war against Hizballah.

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