PM: Kadima Will Rule the Country

Ad Feedback - TIRAT CARMEL, Israel - Speaking by phone from Washington to a Kadima Party rally in Tirat Carmel in the north, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said "We will rule the country for a very, very long time."

"I know that your backing is the basis of Kadima's strength, not the pressures and not the intimidation, but the real power of Kadima members, whose strength is spread across the country and who want a united and unified party that will lead Israel" Olmert told party supporters Thursday, before leaving Washington.

The prime minister arrived home Friday, where he'll have a few days' grace over Shabbat (the Sabbath) and the Shavuot (Feast of Weeks) holiday before facing the political reality on the ground.

Likud Member of Knesset (MK) Silvan Shalom has already garnered commitments from 56 MKs for his bill, which will begin the process of dissolving the present Knesset.

Nineteen Labor MKs may also support the bill, following party chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's call for Olmert to step down in light of the National Fraud Unit's investigation on corruption charges.

MK Eli Yishai, chairman of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said they too will sign the bill if Finance Minister Roni Bar-On (Kadima) doesn't meet their demands for increased child support.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Bar-On believes Labor MKs don't really want early elections, but if they opt to support Shalom's bill, they would be asked to leave the government.

"Whoever votes for advancing elections cannot remain in the government," Bar-On told Israel Radio. "There have been minority governments in Israel in the past," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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