Skip to comments.Olmert scandal threatens political storm
Posted on 05/28/2008 10:34:29 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
JERUSALEM - The scandal enveloping Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could force him from power and throw Israel's fractious political system into turmoil.
If Olmert exits and his government falls, polls indicate that hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party are well-positioned to take power. That would likely have serious implications for the government's efforts to negotiate peace deals with the Palestinians and with Syria.
On Wednesday, one of Olmert's key coalition partners, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, said Olmert had to step aside, and he threatened to topple the coalition and go to new elections if he doesn't.
Barak's ultimatum left Olmert with three options:
Olmert could still hang on. A canny and capable politician, he has already weathered scandals: The new police investigation is the fifth opened into his affairs since he was elected, and he was widely seen to have botched Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon. In the aftermath of that war, Barak issued an ultimatum similar to the one he issued Wednesday but never followed through.
Polls show a poor performance for Barak and his Labor Party if elections are held now, a factor working to keep him in the government. If Barak does carry out his threat to leave and new elections are held, polls show a victory for the Likud.
Olmert could decide to save his coalition government by stepping aside temporarily. In that case, the country's top job would go to his deputy, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. A member of Olmert's Kadima Party, the popular Livni would serve as a caretaker and try to keep the coalition together until Olmert officially steps down or is vindicated and returns.
Olmert could officially resign. He has said he would resign if indicted, and if that happens, his government falls. Israel's president, Shimon Peres, then would select a lawmaker from Kadima probably Livni and give her a chance to form a new government without new elections.
But Livni faces other rivals for the Kadima leadership who will certainly try to oust her once Olmert is gone. Her closest opponent is Shaul Mofaz, a former army chief of staff.
If Kadima fails, other parties, including the Likud, could try to cobble together a coalition out of the remnants of Olmert's government. If none of those attempts succeed, the country could hold new elections, currently scheduled for 2010.
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak, center, addresses the media during a news conference at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, Wednesday, May 28, 2008. Barak on Wednesday issued a tough ultimatum to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, saying he would use his considerable power to topple the coalition government if the Israeli leader does not step aside to face corruption allegations. (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, Pool)
Pray for a coalition of Likud with National Religious and Zionist smaller parties. Israel’s only hope.
by wanting to give control of the golan heights to syria, olmert is like some insane cult leader trying to lead israel in a mass suicide.
"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus
Amen. I sure will.
Bibi doesn’t take any crap from the MSM or the palestinians. Anytime a rocket is launched from gaza into Israel, an artillary barage should return fire to that general location. I don’t care if they are firing from civilian areas. Hamas is the elected leaders of gaza. Let them deal with it.
Hello? If Olmert is out so is his government.
They need to start “negotiating" peace deals after smashing their enemies in a crushing defeat, just like we “negotiated” with Spain, Germany and Japan.
I have a fourth option: Real Israelis get fed up with Olmerde, drag him out of the P.M.’s residence and deport him to Gaza to live out the rest of his days with the Amalekstinians he’s so eager to appease and make kissy-face with. P.S., He has a sign glued to him that says “Fatah are my best buddies”. That should go over real well with Hamas.
I think you mean Italy. Franco's Spain as a neutral power had diplomatic ties with us, and we negotiated a lot with him during the cold war.
AP wishes. They think it would be wrong to let the people freely vote for their government, because they admit that the voters might want Likud--as indeed they did when they first voted Sharon into power in the last election these manipulators have permitted.
Better to have a corrupt crook stay in power, so he can continue undermining Israel and helping the Palestinians.
I think you mean Italy. Franco’s Spain...
As in The Spanish American War.
I see. Sorry then, with Germany and Japan I thought this was about WW2. :)
oh no!!!!! Olmert might lose and we might end up with Bibi!!!! Heavens Forbid!!!
Sounds just like the NY Times over here. Excessive handwringing that the Elliot Spitzer of Tel Aviv might not just lose but also lose power for liberals (insert panic here).
Olmert has been a disaster from the beginning. Nobody asked for him. Nobody is voting for him. Nobody will miss him. He was a VP for Sharon and without Sharon he would still be a mayor and not in a position to be the first person to ever defeat the Israeli military.
Yeah, but I see now that I wasn’t very clear with my post.
Thank you for your reply - bill
In the aftermath of that war, Barak issued an ultimatum similar to the one he issued Wednesday but never followed through. Polls show a poor performance for Barak and his Labor Party if elections are held now, a factor working to keep him in the government. If Barak does carry out his threat to leave and new elections are held, polls show a victory for the Likud.Thanks C from E.
Storm? They'll have an election, that's not a storm.
My prayers are to the One who is truly Israel's only hope. I don't put much confidence at all that any particular coalition can get Israel out of the mess its in. The systemic problems of government, the splintering of the country along political, social and religious lines, the iron-fisted left wing grip on media, academia, beauracracy and the courts are just the main categories of obstacles.
Truly, I believe that the extent of Israel's blunders in the last 20 to 25 years are nothing less than biblical in nature. It's as if G-d blessed the State of Israel until something went terribly awry after the 6-day war. From there, the leadership has done every stupid thing imaginable and some things unimaginable. For a people reputed for intelligence this makes no sense save for Divine intervention or, better put, Divine withdrawal of blessing and guidance.
What does it mean? I don't know, but I'll try this guess: G-d is saying: "OK, I gave you back the land, I crowned your military with miraculous victories and the land with abundance. And how did you thank me? You threw off the yoke of Torah, claimed all the glory of your accomplishments as your own and began to ignore me completely in all your affairs. I have to remind you and all the Jewish people, that they are nothing without Hashem (G-d). By bringing you to the very brink of disaster, perhaps you will turn to me as you did on the shore of the Red Sea with earnest repentance and sincere devotion. Then, and only then, will you be saved and then, and only then, you will know that it was all from me and always will be."