Amid growing pressure: Olmert rejects calls to quit
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert remained defiant on Wednesday in the face of a party mutiny that joined calls for him to step down in the wake of a critical report of his leadership during last summer's Lebanon war.
"To all those who are in haste in order to take advantage of the report for political profit, I tell them not to be hasty," Olmert said at the opening of an extraordinary cabinet meeting.
He spoke after an aide to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that she would ask Olmert to quit during a meeting later in the day. "She is expected to ask him to resign," the official told AFP.
Olmert admitted that "there is no doubt that the report points at some extremely serious failures in the government's conduct and naturally first and foremost of me." But he has thus far rejected calls to quit.
Hours before the cabinet meeting, the head of Olmert party's parliamentary bloc also called on the Israeli to step down, saying it would be "suicidal" for the centrist party, formed a year and a half ago, if the premier remained. "He must take the decision to resign so that Kadima can continue with his mandate," Avigdor Itzchaky told public radio.