By a slim margin, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni captured the chairmanship of Israel's ruling Kadima Party at the conclusion of a dramatic night that saw her projected 10-point lead whittle down to just over one percentage ponit.

With Livni's victory official as of Thursday morning, she will assume the mantle of party chief from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Yet she will not automatically become prime minister. Here is a brief look at the process:

  • After Livni is declared the party leader, Olmert formally submits resignation to President Shimon Peres. The cabinet resigns with him.

  • After consulting with party leaders, Peres picks a member of the Knesset, most likely Livni, to form a new coalition government.

  • The prime minister designate has 42 days to form a new coalition and bring it to the Knesset for approval.

  • If no new government is formed, a general election is held within 90 days. The process of forming government begins all over again.

  • Olmert remains in office as caretaker prime minister until a new government is approved by the Knesset.