Livni Poised to Be Israeli PM

Leads in polls to take over from Olmert
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2008 3:03 AM CDT
Tzipi Livni, Israeli foreign minister and candidate for the Kadima party leadership, speaks during a meeting of party members.    (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
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(Newser) – The main party in Israel's coalition government is poised today to choose 50-year-old foreign minister Tzipi Livni as Kadima party leader and new prime minister. She'll have a matter of weeks to construct a new coalition government or risk an election defeat by the right-wing Likud party, reports the New York Times.    

Livni is a lawyer and a mother of two who belongs to Israel's political aristocracy. Her parents were leading members of the Irgun, the right-wing militia which helped create the Israeli state. Her main rival is transportation minister Shaul Topaz, an Iranian-born former general who is considered more of a hawk than Livni. The government change was prompted by a corruption investigation into the activities of current prime minister Ehud Olmert.