Having persuaded her party to back her, Israeli
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is now seeking the support of other politicians to become prime minister.
She has begun the fraught task of building a governing coalition after defeating Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz in the ruling Kadima party’s leadership election.
It was a vote in which ordinary Israelis had no say, and they have given a mixed reaction to the prospect of her replacing Ehud Olmer as premier.
“I really wish her the best, that she will bring peace to Israel. It’s about time,” said one women in Jerusalem.
“I just hope that Tzipi Livni will be strong enough to
do everything she needs to do to lead Israel. It’s not easy and as a woman it’s even harder,” said another.
But some, including Israeli settlers, fear she will not take a tough line in negotiations with Palestinians.
One West Bank settler said: “We are very unpleased (sic) with the fact that Tzipi Livni
was elected. It’s not the same Tzipi Livni we knew. She’s been announcing the wrong statements lately. We think that Israel won’t be as strong as it’s supposed to be. I think that right now we have a lot to be worried about here in Ofra about our personal home, and about the whole state of
Olmert, who is standing down amid corruption allegations, will remain as prime minister until Livni succeeds in forming a new coalition, or a general election is held.