haim ramon hand on head.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert favors MK Haim Ramon (Kadima) for finance minister, Kadima officials said following a meeting between the two at the weekend.
The officials would not confirm reports that Olmert offered Ramon the post.
The main candidates for the job besides Ramon are said to be Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, and Construction and Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit. Sources close to the prime minister said that he would announce his choice for the post this week.
Olmert has been acting finance minister since MK Avraham Hirchson (Kadima) suspended himself for three months in April because of bribery allegations. He is expected to appoint a new finance minister in the next few weeks as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
Ramon left his post as justice minister in August and was convicted of committing an indecent act. Several female MKs and women's rights organizations have protested Ramon's return to political life.
Kadima officials stressed that Olmert had not yet made any final decisions about the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
Among other posts to consider is the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and the Galilee, which will be vacated by Vice Premier Shimon Peres when he ascends to the presidency July 15.
While Labor Party officials said that Peretz, a Sderot native, might be offered the position, Kadima officials have repeatedly stated that Olmert will not offer Labor another ministry.
Leaders of Israel Beiteinu, which joined the coalition six months ago in exchange for two cabinet posts, have already said that they would object to Labor receiving another cabinet seat.