From Friday night onwards, its official – the wand of power formally passes into the hands of Olmert. It is exactly 100 days since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon slipped into a deep coma, making Ehud Olmert prime minister according to law.
Last Tuesday, the government met for a special session during which minister unanimously approved the procedure, appointing Olmert as the prime minister. The responsibilities of prime minister were fully transferred to Olmert, who was still defined as acting prime minister until Friday.
Even his victory during the elections didn't change the picture, as Olmert has yet to assemble a coalition and has not yet been sworn into the role.
The new title will find Olmert in a holiday resort in the Galilee, where, under heavy security, Olmert and his family are spending the
Government Secretary Yisrael Meimon, who raised the recommendation for the vote, said: "This is a sad and difficult day for all of us – the personal aides who worked with Sharon, for the staff, and all of the workers of the Prime Minister's Office. This is surely a difficult day for Sharon's family. We didn't imagine that we would come to this day. We pray and hope from here for Sharon's health."
For the last 100 days, the attorney general could have declared Sharon as "permanently incapacitated," but he preferred to wait for the period spelled out by the law. Therefore the title "acting prime minister" was placed on Olmert, who made sure to continue working from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and not to enter the Prime Minister's Office.
Currently, with 100 days since the hospitalization, Sharon is no longer prime minister. Olmert has turned into prime minister with the ministers' authorization, and when he assembles his new government, Olmert will become prime minister in every way.