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Photo: Daniel Bar-On
Green lighting, Olmert
Photo: Daniel Bar-On
Olmert gives green light to Kadima primaries
Prime minister approves internal Kadima elections that may see him ousted; move’s objective is to lift Labor’s threat to bolt coalition. Olmert associate: He was left with no choice but he feels he suffered an injustice

Olmert’s domestic trouble: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met Wednesday with Kadima’s Steering Committee Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi and with Faction Chairman Eli Aflalo. The three discussed the possibility of proceeding with Kadima primaries in order to elect the party’s leader.

 

Olmert, who earlier met with Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, gave the green light to embarking on this political move.

 

Following the meeting, MK Hanegbi said: “The prime minister instructed Aflalo and I to work quickly in order to formulate the primaries’ regulations.” He added that next week, Kadima’s Steering Committee will convene for a first discussion on the matter. Hanegbi said that initial discussions will deal with issues pertaining to the party’s charter and only later it would be possible to agree on a primaries date.

 

‘He has no choice’

Meanwhile, a senior Kadima source closely associated with Olmert told Ynet that the prime minister “feels he suffered an injustice but he has no choice.” However, the source said that Olmert believes that he can still turn the tables, particularly following the cross-examination of Morris Talansky, the key witness in the corruption affair faced by the PM.

 

Meanwhile, the entire political establishment is waiting for an official decision regarding the Kadima primaries. Labor party officials want to see the move to replace the prime minister accelerated and threaten to promote a motion to disperse the Knesset should Kadima not go about choosing a replacement for Olmert.

 

Therefore, it appears that Olmert’s flexibility on the primaries issue is mostly meant to prevent the toppling of his government by his senior coalition partners.

 

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