Israel: Olmert to Resign Following Kadima Primary

Ehud Olmert said yesterday that he will not stand for the Kadima primary in September. According to Al Jazeera English, Olmert said: “I have decided I won't run in the Kadima movement primaries, nor do I intend to intervene in the elections.” This means that Olmert could be out of office as soon as September 17 or as late as March, depending on how long it takes to set up the new government.

Bloggers had a strong reaction to Olmert's resignation. Israel Matzav liveblogged the story as it broke. An excerpt from a post during Olmert's speech reads:

He made mistakes during his career and he is sorry for them. But the picture in front of the public is not real. He has elementary right to presumption of innocence and he should not have to seek it by force. He understands that police and prosecution have to do their job and he's not above the law but not below it either.

Commenting on the post, Orde says:

The impression I get (which is worth a grain of salt, because I'm over here and out of the loop), is that Livni's not that much better when it comes to “the peace process” or the whole extremists vs. the moderates approach. Wrong? right? Why would Olmert leaving change anything at all when it came to the peace process if Livni's approach is the same? What's the up side of this?

To that, NormanF responds:

Orde… I doubt it. Ehud Olmert has done a great deal of damage in his two years in office and will no doubt try to inflict more upon the country in order to get “a legacy.” That being said no one in Israel is sorry to see him go. He's been the most corrupt and incompetent Prime Minister Israel has ever had. What a singular distinction! By the way, the press conference was all about HIM.

Israeli blogger The Muqata is ambivalent:

8:10 PM, July 30, 2008: Olmert announces that he will leave office in 2 months!
What a disappointment….well, maybe not.
After a 14 minute surprise press conference, first Olmert drags it on saying how wonderful the government is, how everything in Israel is grand, how the police have been hounding him over investigations in which de did nothing wrong, and he has answers for everything.
Instead of outright resigning, he is only stepping down after the Kadima primaries.

Olah Chadasha responds in a comment, saying:

He believes he has improved the situation in Israel??? What world does this maniac live in??? He created a stagnant government that hasn't done a damn thing in 2.5 years, brought Israel's its toughest military defeat in recent history and then pissed on it with a disgusting prisoner exchange, allowed Sderot and its surrounding areas to be held hostage as Olmert fishes for “peace” and his place in history, etc., etc., ad nauseam. This man is truly delusional. The disgusting part is he probably believes every drop of dung he throws at us.

Israeli blogger Forecast Highs is looking toward the future, and reflects that in a blog post entitled “Mrs. Clean is from Mars, Mr. Security is from Venus”, explaining that the real issue is who will replace Olmert:

While the real battle between Tzipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz to replace Ehud Olmert as Kadima chairperson and prime minister is taking place amongst the 30,000 Kadima members and not the wider public, the two frontrunners have retained the services of skilled campaign consultants to convince both the party membership and the general public that their candidate is worthy of Israel’s top job.

Syrian blogger Maysaloon shares his opinion:

I don't expect Kadima to survive once Olmert is ousted from power. The ill omen of Ariel Sharon's stroke almost at the very start crippled Kadima whilst Olmert, a manager more than a leader, has been disastrous for Israel. If Sharon awoke now from his coma he would probably ask to be put back into it if he sees the state that Israel is now in.

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