Olmert justice minister as of midnight
Interim minister Sheetrit's 90-day temporary appointment comes to an end.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 23, 2006 22:40
1 minute read.
olmert says fuck 298.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert became Israel's minister of justice at midnight Thursday, when interim minister Meir Sheetrit's 90-day appointment ended.
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz has yet to issue a ruling about whether it is a legal problem for Olmert to hold the portfolio when State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss is currently investigating the prime minister in seven separate matters.
According to journalist Yoav Yitzhak, whose reports have prompted most of the investigations, the seven involve illegally interfering in the sale of Bank Leumi; illegal appointments as industry, trade and labor minister; illegally funneling government business to his former business partner Uriel Messer; and illegal complications in the buying and selling of three apartments in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv.
Sheetrit received the temporary appointment when justice minister Haim Ramon resigned from the position to concentrate on clearing his name in his sexual harassment trial. Sheetrit is not allowed by law to receive another temporary appointment term.
Olmert was supposed to appoint a permanent minister by Thursday but failed to do so.
At a press conference hours before the end of his temporary term, Sheetrit said he did not know whether Olmert would decide to appoint him on a permanent basis. He said he was not angry at Olmert and he denied reports that he had threatened Olmert that he would quit his other position, as construction and housing minister, if he did not receive the Justice portfolio.
"It's the prerogative of a prime minister to decide who he wants to appoint," Sheetrit said. "I am waiting for his decision. I haven't met with him yet. There is no tension between us."
Olmert's spokesman said he had not yet decided what to do about the vacant portfolio. He said he would not make a decision until next Tuesday at the earliest.
The prime minister's options include keeping the portfolio, appointing Sheetrit and appointing Interior Minister Roni Bar-On as interim justice minister. Sources close to Olmert said he would rather have someone he gets along with better as justice minister than Sheetrit, who is a Kadima rival and a frequent critic of the prime minister.
Sheetrit has said that if he were given the portfolio and Ramon were cleared, he would resign from the position. But Olmert is said to be afraid that Ramon will not return and that he will have no choice but to work with Sheetrit for the rest of his tenure.