Olmert to Formally Assume Prime Ministership

Cabinet meets in special session; this week marks 100 days since Ariel Sharon's massive stroke.

The cabinet will convene in special session Tuesday to approve the appointment of Ehud Olmert as interim prime minister, formally assuming the leadership of the nation from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The measure stems from a decision by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz based on the Basic Law on the Government. Mazuz has ruled that if the prime minister were unable to function for 100 days, his replacement would then take over.

This Friday will see the end of Sharon's designation as "temporarily incapacitated." Olmert has acted as prime minister since Sharon suffered a massive stroke on January 4.

The Tuesday cabinet session is also expected to ratify proposals the cabinet discussed earlier in the week regarding non-contact with the Hamas-led Palestinian government in an effort to pressure Hamas leaders to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

The proposals also include maintaining contact with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Later this week, Olmert and his wife, Aliza, will be spending the Passover holiday in the north.

The four-day vacation will be Olmert's first since taking over from Sharon.