“Many parties said it is a referendum on our path. And the people decided, the referendum has results, and the path we want is the one that most Knesset Members support,” Olmert said at a meeting of senior Kadima members.
Olmert updated members of talks he had held with leaders of possible coalition partners, saying he hoped that as soon as President Moshe Katsav entrusts him with the task of forming a governing coalition he would seek to complete the mission speedily.
“We will set the principles of the next government,” Olmert said, adding that he wants to form “as wide a coalition as possible.”
Conditions to join his government: to accept the political and socio-economic plans.
“All are invited to join, on the condition they meet conform to the principles, the basic principles, to the approach we want to lead,” Olmert said.
The acting PM said he will lead two central processes: a political one and “the need to do greater social justice, as improving the living standards of Israeli citizens.”
'I wish we could tell Ariel Sharon'
On this point, maybe because of the success registered by parties who voiced a social agenda, Olmert stressed Kadima’s centrality: “We will lead changes in the economic and social domains. We will place education at the top of our priorities list. No one other than Kadima has a monopoly or preferences in dealing with these issues, and the commitment they gave to the public in these fields is one we intend to respect, to work for and do everything to make it happen.”
He vowed to form a broad coalition that can last 4 years and 7 months. Kadima, Olmert said, will not be a passing phenomenon, but a political home that will lead the country in the coming years.
“We are part of a national process that has no precedent in the political history of the State of Israel. The political map of the State of Israel has been changed in an unprecedented manner,” he said.
“I remember when they used to say ‘we know this story; the first weeks it sounds good, and slowly it will dissipate; in the end they will get few mandates.’ It seems to me the end is good. Kadima is Israel’s ruling party. It is a great achievement and a big responsibility,” Olmert said.
“If I could call more of our people ‘Members of Knesset’ I’d be happy. The gap is one thing, but our achievement is unprecedented. I wish we could tell Ariel Sharon about it,” he said.