September 18, 2008
Israel’s Ruling Party Elects a Female Leader
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni declared victory today in ruling party Kadima's leadership race by a narrow margin of 431 votes.
The victory means she is in a position to try to form Israel's next government.
Ms Livni (50) will replace prime minister Ehud Olmert, who is stepping down to battle multiple corruption allegations.
She said the "national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great reverence".
The victory declaration came after official results showed Ms Livni (right) taking the race by a far narrower victory than exit polls had predicted.
She barely edged out rival Shaul Mofaz, Israel's transportation minister and a former defence minister.
"The national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great reverence," Ms Livni said, shortly after official results were announced.
Ms Livni will have 42 days to form a new ruling coalition. If she succeeds, she will become Israel's first female prime minister since Golda Meir stepped down in 1974. If she fails, the country will hold elections in early 2009, a year and a half ahead of schedule.
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