Olmert Election Decision Expected on Sunday
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will announce on Sunday whether he intends to run in the upcoming Knesset elections, Channel 2 News reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, Olmert will meet over the weekend with members of his family and discuss the matter with them before announcing his final decision. It is believed, however, that he will ultimately choose not to run this time.
On Monday, Olmert said, during an appearance at a conference in Tel Aviv, that he has not yet decided when to announce whether he will run in the next election, thus dismissing rumors that he was planning to announce his decision at that conference.
He then proceeded to attack the present government, led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying, “My government acted, unlike this 'all talk' government. On the practical side, this government needs much improvement. It knows about talking, but a little less about doing.”
Olmert has been under pressure, especially by members of the Kadima party which he headed, to come back and run in the January elections. Polls have indicated that Kadima is headed for a significant downfall in the elections. Most of the party’s current MKs are convinced that only Olmert's return to the party could give it a significant achievement.
Olmert was given a relatively light sentence for his conviction on charges of breach of trust and is not legally prohibited from returning to politics. However, the prosecution has announced that it plans to appeal the sentence.
Meanwhile, Channel 2 reported, former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni will announce her intentions immediately after Olmert's announcement, and it is believed that she will indeed choose to run. It remains unclear whether she will form a new party or join an existing one.
Labor Chairwoman MK Shelly Yechimovich confirmed Tuesday that she has been speaking with Livni about the possibility that Livni will join the Labor ticket.
"She is a worthy individual and I want to see her return to politics," Yechimovich told Army Radio. "She belongs to a small group of public personalities who bring Knesset seats by their own merit."
It is unlikely that Livni would return to Kadima, where she would be placed in the number 2 spot under current chairman Shaul Mofaz, who defeated her in the race for the party’s leadership. Mofaz hinted last week that he might be willing to step down from the leadership of the failing Kadima party if Olmert were to return to unify the lines among Israel’s centrist parties.