PETAH TIKVA, Israel - In her first address as leader of the Kadima party, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert must make good on his pledge to resign. Kadima members elected Livni to replace Olmert as party leader after Olmert announced his intention to step down as prime minister.
After Wednesday's primary, it was expected that Olmert would submit his letter of resignation to President Shimon Peres as early as Sunday. But he now plans to wait until after Rosh Hashanah [the Jewish New Year], and will deliver the letter on October 2.
Referring to Olmert's promise, Livni said, "Because there is a country to run, we have to act quickly to set up a government-not because I want to, but because the country is facing many difficult challenges. We don't have time for political games."
But Livni's own fellow Kadima members are divided about when Olmert should leave. Knesset member Tzachi Hanegbi says an early exit by Olmert will help the party form a government, while Vice-Premier Haim Ramon says Olmert shouldn't leave until after a coalition is built.
Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz