Photo: AP
Olmert. Against early primaries
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Livni. Working to move up primaries
Photo: AP
Mofaz. A marionette?
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Defense battle: Olmert to try and play for time

Washington visit to give prime minister a timeout from political commotion for several days. In coming days, Olmert expected to reject calls for early primaries, let Livni and Mofaz quarrel among themselves

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will leave for the United States on Monday, on the backdrop of his political survival battle. After mocking his opponents at a Kadima faction meeting Sunday, he will try and play for time in the coming weeks, allowing his rivals to fight each other instead of him.


A source close to Olmert told Ynet on Sunday night, "We will work to thwart early primary elections in Kadima. Our goal now is to restore peace and quiet in Kadima, prepare for (American businessman Morris) Talansky's cross-examination and bring back sanity to the party.


"The prime minister is not interested in primaries, but in the meantime he will not intervene with what is happening in the party and will not disrupt the dynamics created over the past few days.


Sources in Kadima noted that Olmert still has one opportunity to change the atmosphere created in the public and in the media following Talansky's pre-trial deposition.


"If he fails in the cross-examination, it's over," said a senior Kadima official. "And if it's over for him, it's crystal clear that after he leaves, no one will take him into account. A lot depends on this cross-examination."


Aides to the prime minister noted that for the time being, Olmert has no plans to interfere in the dialogue taking place in his party over the primaries question, and he plans to let Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the other Knesset members deal with the issue undisturbed.


They clarified that Olmert has no plans to lead a move for general elections in November.


Mofaz: Barak, Livni interested in gaining power

The prime minister's associates criticized Labor Chairman Ehud Barak, saying he is being used as a plaything by strategic advisor Reuven Adler. "Adler wants to take revenge on Olmert, and is using Barak and Livni for that goal. He pushed Barak to make statements and rattle the system, but Barak is beginning to understand that he made a mistake."


Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz reiterated his criticism of Barak, saying that "because of his problems in the Labor Party, he tried to interfere with what is happening in Kadima, but he failed. He did the wrong thing by trying to dictate timetables to us. Tzipi Livni also made a mistake, and I hope she doesn’t repeat it."


Mofaz noted that "Barak and Livni are Reuven Adler's marionettes, and they are ready to play this role because they are interested in gaining power."


The transportation minister is interested in holding primaries at the beginning of September, but is also interested in "giving the prime minister time to prove his innocence."


Sources in Kadima who have reviewed the party's statute, say that the chances for primaries regardless of general elections are extremely low. The statute virtually prevents the possibility of ousting the party chairman, as a lesson from Benjamin Netanyahu's failed attempt to depose former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from the position of Likud chairman after the disengagement.


In other words, while his rival quarrel among themselves, smearing each other and certain they will decide on the timetables, this will probably not happen. It appears that Kadima's activists like the strategy taken by the prime minister, and on Tuesday they plan to hold a rally to express their support for him.


פרסום ראשון: 06.02.08, 07:38
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