Senior Kadima officials and associates of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that Israel's next president is set to be former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau.
According to the reports, a steering committee that is currently being formed will start operating in the near future in order to secure a Knesset majority for Lau's election in a July 2007 parliamentary vote.
However, sources at the PM's office denied the existence of such a committee.
On Friday Ynet reported that Olmert himself has expressed support in Lau's candidacy for Presidency. Kadima official confirmed Monday the PM's stance, and said he would act to promote the former chief rabbi's election to office.
In the past few days, the battle for the presidency has quietly taken off.
“There is no doubt that this is a very important sphere for (Kadima), after the victory in parliamentary elections. This is another vertex in the party’s road in consolidating its power in the Israeli government,” Kadima members said.
Other names that have been mentioned as possible candidates for the post are Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) and former High Court of Justice Judge Meir Shamgar.