Olmert survives no-confidence, but partner votes against him
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert survived what was considered a no-confidence vote Monday night in the Knesset (parliament) in spite of having the Labour party, his primary coalition partner, vote against him.
The vote, in which the coalition came out ahead by a 47-42 margin in the 120 seat house, took place while Olmert was in Paris attending the Mediterranean Union summit, the dpa reported.
Israeli media reported that, while the premier was upset about the vote, he would not fire Labour ministers, whose faction voted against him after a member of their party was not appointed to the position of head of the legislative body's finance committee, in spite of what they said were direct promises from the government.
Had he fired Labour, Olmert would have been left with a minority government.
In light of the various issues Olmert is contending with, including peace negotiations with the Palestinians and various corruption charges against him, the vote took place over a rather minor issue of appointing new tourism and absorption ministers, the latter dealing with Jewish immigration issues.
At the request of the opposition the vote was deemed a de-facto confidence motion.
Last month, the troubled prime minister managed to convince Labour at the proverbial last moment not to vote in favour of dissolving the Knesset, which would have set in motion early elections.