05/02/2007, 00.00
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Mounting pressures on Olmert to resign

Deemed by the government commission he set up the main culprit in last summer’s Lebanon War fiasco, Olmert is rejected by 65 per cent of Israelis who want him to resign immediately. Tzipi Livni is mentioned as a possible successor, so is Netanyahu.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Most Israelis want Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign for his failures in last summer’s Lebanon war against Hezbollah. Mr Olmert has so far refused to do so.

An opinion poll published today by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily and done after the release of the preliminary report by the Winograd Commission (set up by the Olmert government after the war) show that most Israelis want Olmert to go.

According to Israel’s Channel One and Channel Ten, the report refers to errors, poor leadership and wrong estimations by the prime minister and the defence minister, Amir Peretz.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s survey shows that 65 per cent of those interviewed want the prime minister to resign immediately; only 25 per cent want him to wait until the full report is published later in the summer. Only 10 per cent want him to stay on. The same poll shows that 27 per cent of respondents would give him another chance against 72 per cent who would not.

When asked whether another prime minister might have performed better during the Lebanon war, 47 per cent said yes, 30 per cent said another leader would have functioned similarly, whilst 4 per cent thought another leader would have been worse (19 per cent did not answer).

As for what should happen now, 51 per cent think new elections should be held, 23 per cent would like the leadership changed without elections—with the same coalition remaining in office but without the current prime minister, defence minister and other leading lawmakers; 14 per cent would like Olmert to remain in office and Peretz to go.

Haaretz reports that the Labour Party is putting pressure on Peretz, writing that he “could resign within hours.”

Asked who was the best candidate to replace Olmert as prime minister, 29 per cent of the respondents said that Benjamin Netanyahu would be their choice. Asked which Kadima member would make a suitable replacement for Olmert, 32 per cent chose Deputy Premier Shimon Peres, whilst an equal number opted for Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

The Israeli press reports today that pressures are mounting on Olmert from within his own party to throw in the towel.

Eitan Cabel, a minister without portfolio, is so far the only cabinet minister to quit over the report. 

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See also
Israel wondering “how and when” Hizbollah will exact revenge for Mugniyah’s killing
Israel rejects (for now) truce proposal in Gaza as “unrealistic”
Some hope for peace with the Palestinians as Olmert gets ready to bow out
Israelis feel "hurt" but are "in favour" of Gaza pullout
Olmert for broader military operations in southern Lebanon


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