Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called an emergency meeting of his Cabinet Wednesday in a feverish attempt to hold on to power, urging his rivals to "slow down" before trying to reap political capital from a scathing report on his handling of last year's war against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
This week's report has fueled calls for Olmert's resignation, including from members of his coalition government. A top lawmaker in Olmert's Kadima Party became the highest-ranking official to urge Olmert to step down, and party officials said Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a party heavyweight, would follow suit later in the day.
The 34-day war has been widely perceived as a failure. Monday's report said Olmert bore ultimate responsibility, accusing him of poor judgment, hasty decision making and lack of vision.
A defiant Olmert opened the special Cabinet session by hinting that reports of his political demise were premature.
Two new polls published in Israeli newspapers Wednesday said some two-thirds of Israelis want Olmert to resign immediately. The surveys indicated that the hawkish former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of the opposition Likud Party, would likely win handily if new elections were held.
But Livni, the foreign minister, was emerging as the biggest threat to Olmert's survival. Livni, who has stayed silent since the explosive report was released, is Kadima's most popular politician and may be seen as the party's best hope of retaining power. Livni aides said she planned to meet with Olmert later Wednesday.
Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2007, 12:27