- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

12:45 p.m.

JERUSALEM — Israel’s popular foreign minister today called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to step down. She is the highest-ranking official to seek Mr. Olmert’s resignation after a harsh report criticizing his handling of last year’s war in Lebanon.

“I told him that resignation would be the right thing for him to do,” said Tzipi Livni, who as one of the most popular politicians in Mr. Olmert’s Kadima Party would be well-placed to succeed the prime minister.

Mrs. Livni said she would remain in government “to ensure that improvements are carried out.” Mrs. Livni, Mr. Olmert’s top rival in the party, said she believed Kadima could replace Mr. Olmert without bringing down the government.

Her comments signaled that she would challenge Mr. Olmert for party leadership. “It’s not a personal matter between me and the prime minister — this issue is more important than both of us,” Mrs. Livni said.

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