Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni will likely choose not to run in the upcoming elections, Channel 2 News reported on Wednesday.
According to the report, the two are waiting for another round of polls, to be conducted after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statement on Tuesday that elections will be held in January or February, and only then will they decide whether to run. Their final decision is expected next week, the report said.
Channel 2 reported that it is believed that both Olmert and Livni would only want to return to a high-ranking position and as such, will think twice about running if it means a job as a junior minister in a government led by someone else.
On Tuesday it was reported that Olmert is set to announce that he is returning to political life, but it remained unclear whether he would re-join Kadima, which all polls have indicated is headed for a downfall in the next election, or form a new party.
It was reported that Olmert has been under heavy pressure to return to political life, especially since the Court imposed a light sentence on him over his conviction of breach of trust. Olmert was fined less than $18,000 and was given a one-year suspended jail sentence.
The Court did not find that there was moral turpitude in Olmert’s actions, so there is no legal obstacle keeping him from running in the next election. At the same time, he still faces charges of bribery in the Holyland apartment project, re-zoned for construction when he was mayor of Jerusalem. That case is still being heard in court, meaning that even if Olmert were to return to politics he would be unable to serve as Cabinet minister under Israeli law.
Last week sources close to Olmert said that the former Prime Minister was considering forming a new political party with Livni and journalist turned politician Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party and whose father, former Shinui leader the late Tommy Lapid, was a close friend of Olmert’s.
It has been widely speculated that a new political party headed by Olmert and Livni could defeat Netanyahu’s Likud in the election.