Olmert: I'm not sure I'll survive

Report: Livni tells associates PM should resign; Coalition chair: Over half of Kadima MKs want Olmert out; Special Knesset meeting Wed.

Olmert 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Olmert 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
The current political crisis might force him out of office, Prime Minister Ehud Olmertht was quoted as saying in a Channel 2 report Tuesday evening. "I am not convinced that I will succeed in getting through this," Olmert said to his associates. He added that if he had to go, there would be no coalition left to any of his successors. Comments from Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also showed her doubting Olmert's ability to remain in office, Channel 10 reported. According to the report, Livni told her associates that she thought Olmert should resign from his position. In addition, the report stated that Livni planned political action, but what kind of action remained uncertain. Earlier, coalition Chairman Avigdor Yitzhaki spoke with several members of the Kadima party on Tuesday, regarding the future of the party's leardership - namely the replacement of Olmert in light of the Winograd report on the Second Lebanon War. Channel 2 reported that almost half of the Kadima faction supports ousting Olmert. On Tuesday night, the PM announced he was bringing forward the special Knesset meeting planned for Thursday by a day in order to discuss the Winograd interim report. In this respect, Kadima MKs are expected to call on Olmert to quit, Channel 2 reported. Earlier on Tuesday Kadima MK Marina Solodkin declared that PM Olmert "must go home," making her the first member of the party to speak out openly in favor of the prime minister's resignation since the publication of the Winograd Committee report on the Second Lebanon War. In an interview with Army Radio, Solodkin said that "the report that was published yesterday was so serious that according to what was written there, [Olmert] has to resign." She added that "Olmert made very big mistakes during the war. He acted with a blatant lack of responsibility. We can't ignore what happened yesterday and what's happening now."
Earlier Tuesday morning, lawyer Yossi Fuchs petitioned the High Court of Justice to force Olmert to quit in the wake of the war report. Fuchs, who fought as a reservist in the Second Lebanon War, said that "the Winograd report finds Olmert personally responsible for the failures of the war which caused the deaths of hundreds of soldiers and civilians. Therefore, it the duty of the one who is found responsible for such a serious failure to resign from his position," Army Radio reported. Earlier Tuesday morning, Labor MK Avishai Braverman also called for Olmert's resignation, telling Israel Radio that he and Labor leadership candidate Ami Ayalon were both of the opinion that the leaders responsible for the war failures must go. If they refuse to do so, he said, there is a serious risk that the public trust will be completely lost and democracy will be undermined. Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, however, said Tuesday morning that Olmert and Peretz should not be forced to resign, but should instead be allowed to correct their mistakes. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman also avoided pushing for Olmert's resignation, telling Israel Radio that the government should focus on implementing the recommendations of the war report rather than rushing to hold early elections. According to Lieberman, it would be impossible to simultaneously hold elections and fix the deficiencies revealed during the Lebanon war. Also Tuesday, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss announced that he would consider conducting a follow-up evaluation upon the implementation of the Winograd report's recommendations. Army Radio quoted the State Comptroller's Office as saying that Lindenstrauss "viewed positively" the committee's proposal to "examine the implementation of the report's recommendations."