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Israeli president to endorse Olmert for PM on Thurs

Written by: Staff
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JERUSALEM, Apr 5 (Reuters) Israeli President Moshe Katsav will announce tomorrow he has asked interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to form a government after his Kadima party won elections last week, the presidential office said in a statement.

The statement said Katsav would meet Olmert tomorrow.

''At the conclusion of the meeting there will be a news conference at which the president will declare that he is giving the responsibility of forming the government to Ehud Olmert,'' said the statement, issued today.

Once endorsed by Katsav, Olmert would have 42 days to form a government.

The centrist Kadima won the most seats in the March 28 elections, but less than expected, on plans to impose Israel's final borders with or without Palestinian agreement. It secured 29 seats in the 120-member parliament. The centre-left Labour Party came second with 19.

Olmert has said Kadima expected the Labour Party, led by former trade union leader Amir Peretz, to be its senior partner in a coalition.

The president, who holds the power to appoint an elected party leader to be prime minister, has in recent days met leaders of parliamentary factions to see which candidate they endorsed after the March 28 elections.

Reuters

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