Olmert at Kadima faction meeting
Photo: Gil Yohanan
"Certain people have been acting under duress in the past few days; I urge them not to," Olmert told a Kadima faction meeting in Jerusalem. According to party members who attended the meeting, the prime minister's comment referred to Livni's demand that the party prepare for the possibility of early elections.
"We have responsibilities and we have to exercise caution in our decisions. I suggest we don't act under duress… We have to stay united and lead Israel," said Olmert.
The prime minister also criticized Labor chairman Ehud Barak over his recent statement that "if the Kadima leadership's moral spine continues to bend down in the face of power or interests, as it has been doing for years now, we will force it to straighten itself out."
Olmert said Kadima "was and will continue to be the ruling party, and no one on the outside will dictate its timetable".
As for the ongoing corruption investigation against him and the deposition of American financier Morris Talansky in the case, the PM said "I haven't been given the chance to clarify things, but I will do so".
Kadima's Council Chairman Meir Nitzan told those on hand to "lay off the prime minister and stop the inheritance wars.
"Stop talking of primaries and general elections in November. Let him prove his innocence," he said.