Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Israel's Next PM

It has become increasingly likely that Israel's next Prime Minister will be its current Foreign Minister Tzibi Livni (pictured). If she wins the leadership vote in two days time for the ruling Kadima party she will become the Jewish state's second female Prime Minister. A poll run by the Israeli media during the week of the 74,000 eligible voters placed Livni with having 47% of the vote compared to her nearest rival who had 28%. This coming from the controversial Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz made headlines earlier this year for calling for a preemptive strike on Iran, the country of his birth. It is thought that current PM Ehud Olmert will step down immediately after the leadership contest. Olmert's reign has been tarnished by corruption allegations that eventually led to a recent indictment because of his cagey relationship with a wealthy Jewish American property developer. In addition his popularity never recovered after the July 06 war with Hezbollah in which he was deeply criticised for its conduct.

However, even after Livni takes over it is highly likely that a general election will take place within months as the fragile coalition government is not expected to survive the indictment scandal. This will lead to the mother of all political showdowns between Kadima and the Likud Party whom split from each other in 2005 over the Gaza disengagement. Likud under the leadership of former PM and highly popular figure of Benjamin Netanyahu would be hot favourites to win that one. Both of these parties have very different interpretations of the Israeli Palestinian peace process. Interesting times ahead in Israel. Then again, when is Israel not fascinating ?

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