PM Ehud Olmert submits his resignation to President Shimon Peres

 Remarks by President Peres following resignation of PM Olmert


Photo: GPO

(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

This evening, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert submitted a letter of resignation from his post. I appreciate the respectful way in which he is handing over his power.

This is not an easy decision, and I am convinced that this is a difficult evening for him.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for his service to the people and the state over the course of many years of public activities: as the Mayor of Jerusalem, as a minister in the government, and as the Prime Minister of Israel. The safety of the state of Israel and the welfare of its citizens were central to his actions as Prime Minister. Some of these will remain unknown.

Beginning tonight, I have invited all of the factions of the Knesset for consultations, with the goal of bestowing the responsibility for forming the next government on a Member of the Knesset as quickly as possible, before I leave the country for the United Nations General Assembly. 

The State of Israel today faces complicated national, security, economic, and social challenges, requiring constant leadership.

Israel is a strong state and a steadfast democracy, and even the replacement of the Prime Minister will not harm its strength, its determination to protect its citizens and its commitment to peace.

* * *

The process of forming a government in Israel:

Following consultations with the Knesset factions, the president presents one Knesset member with the responsibility of forming a government. To do so, the Knesset member has to present a list of ministers for Knesset approval, together with an outline of proposed government guidelines. The Knesset member tasked with the forming the new coalition will be given 28 days, with a possible extension of 14 days. If this person fails, the president is authorized to order a different MK to form a coalition within an additional 28 days. Should the second MK fail to do so, the general elections will be moved up and will be held within 90 days.

* * *

On Monday, 22 September, President Peres charged Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni, elected chair of the Kadima party on September 18, with the task of forming the new government:

With the power vested in me by the Basic Law: The Government, and after having consulted with all of the factions of the Knesset, I have decided to bestow the task of forming the next government on Knesset Member Tzipi Livni.

Knesset Member Tzipi Livni has agreed to take this task upon herself.

Since the resignation of the Prime Minister, I have held conversations with all 13 factions of the Knesset, and I have asked to hear their stances.

In these meetings I came to recognize the desire of all of the factions to bring, as quickly as possible, stability and leadership, and to allow the government that will
arise to confront the challenges that stand before the state.

I would like to note with great appreciation the respectful manner in which the representatives of the delegations honestly and clearly presented their recommendations, each one according to his perspective. This was proof that it is possible to hold public deliberations while maintaining a respectful and statesmanlike demeanor.

According to the law I am obligated to bestow the responsibility for forming the government on a member of the Knesset. After consulting with the delegations, it has become apparent that among the Knesset members, one candidate has been recommended to me. Therefore I have decided to bestow this task on Knesset Member Tzipi Livni. A portion of the factions of the Knesset have called for early elections and there were some who refrained from suggesting a candidate.

Approximately an hour ago, I spoke with Ms. Tzipi Livni and she has made clear to me her awareness of the heavy responsibility with which she has been charged.

I wish her the best of luck and I hope that this task will be quickly accomplished, and the Israeli democracy will prove once again its vitality.

Happy New Year to all the citizens of the State of Israel.