|Olmert speaks at Saban Forum in Washington 370.(Photo by: Screenshot Brookings Institute )|
Ehud Olmert to stay out of upcoming election
By LAHAV HARKOV AND GIL HOFFMAN
Former PM makes clear to MKs he won't be running; Olmert not present on Kadima list; four Kadima members drop out of party.
The saga surrounding the possible Knesset run of former prime minister Ehud
Olmert ended officially on Wednesday when Kadima released its Knesset candidates
list, which features party leader Shaul Mofaz at the top.
Kadima MKs had
hoped until the last minute that Olmert would run and revive the party’s sagging
fortunes. But he decided to wait until the next election, by which time he hopes
his legal battles will be behind him.
“There is no reason for him to hold
a press conference,” Olmert’s spokesman said.
When Olmert made clear to
MKs following his return from the US on Tuesday night that he would not run,
some decided to retire rather than run for a party that according to the polls
will go from the 28 seats it won in the last election to not passing the 2
percent electoral threshold. Veteran MKs Dalia Itzik, Ronnie Bar- On and Ya’acov
Edri left political life on Wednesday, shortly before the party released its
list of candidates for the next Knesset.
Itzik announced she is taking a
break from politics, after 20 years in the Knesset.
As a Labor MK, she
served as environmental protection minister, industry, trade and labor minister
and communications minister. She moved to Kadima when then-prime minister Ariel
Sharon founded the party seven years ago, becoming the first female Knesset
“I didn’t think I’d be able to contribute much in the current
situation, but I’ll be back,” Itzik said on Wednesday.
“The time has come
for me to rest. I thought I could keep the party together but the ‘I’s’ in the
party defeated the ‘we.’” Bar-On is chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and
Defense Committee, and has been an MK since 2003, when he ran with the
He served as finance minister, interior minister, national
infrastructure minister and science and technology minister. He was also
attorney-general in 1997, but resigned after two days, due to the Bar-On-Hebron
Bar-On met with Mofaz on Wednesday, telling him that
he still supports Kadima and will help the party in the upcoming election
campaign if he is needed.
Edri also entered the Knesset in 2003, and
served in several ministerial positions, including in the health, immigration
and absorption, Negev and Galilee and Jerusalem affairs portfolios.
on Wednesday, Kadima MK Marina Solodkin, who brought many votes from the Russian
immigrant community to the party, also resigned from politics, after she was put
in the unrealistic ninth spot on the list for the next Knesset. She said she
could not tolerate what she saw as an attempt to harm her constituency and an
attempt by Olmert to settle an old score with her.
“This was a dirty
trick by Olmert,” Solodkin said. “I told Shaul [Mofaz] that where he put me on
the list was unacceptable. This is not Kadima anymore.”
entered the Knesset in 1996 with the Yisrael B’Aliya party. She twice served as
deputy immigrant absorption minister.
Mofaz is first on the Kadima
candidates list, followed by MKs Yisrael Hasson, Yohanan Plesner, Ze’ev Bielski,
Ronit Tirosh, Shai Hermesh, Yuval Zellner and Doron Avital, former Shinui MK
Etti Livni and Kadima MK Akram Hasson.
Zellner, Avital and Hasson have
not served a full Knesset term, as they replaced lawmakers who died or resigned
during the 18th Knesset’s tenure.
“Kadima is approaching the election
with an experienced, responsible, highquality, varied list,” Mofaz said. “Today
it is clear who is Kadima and what the party represents. I believe in Kadima and
its path, and together we will succeed.”