Israeli Knesset approved on Monday evening the appointment of Ehud Olmert as the Israeli Minister of finance by 71-41 margin, and Matan Vilnai as Science Minister.
The approval comes as a defeat to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who was attempting to name Olmert together with Roni Bar-On and Ze’ev Boim.
Eight Likud ‘rebels’ said earlier that they will not support Sharon in his proposal, and voted against it.
The eight ministers who apposed the appointment were Uzi Landau, Michael Ratzon, David Levy, Naomi Blumenthal, Ayoub Kara, Ehud Yatom, Yuli Edelstein, and former finance minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
MK’s Gilad Erdan, Yuval Steinitz, and Moshe Kahalon, did not attend the vote.
After the voting, Sharon delivered a speech at the Knesset and expressed his disappointment over the decision which he considered as a decision which had “personal motives”.
Sharon said he intends to meet with the government immediately since he plans on bringing a new proposal. Knesset spokesman, Reuven Rivlin accepted the request of Sharon since the government need to name a finance minister.
Olmert emerged out of the voting as a big winner, he heads the Treasury, and also heads the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry, in addition to heading the Israel Lands Authority and the country’s broadcasting authority.
Sharon expressed his disappointment with his coalition members, and said that he has no doubts with the intensions of the opposition, “but the so-called coalition members, this move they did will have implications”.
The statements of Sharon came as he was referring to several members of the Likud who voted against his proposal.
“It is a pity that factionalism and personal motives rejected the appointment of two worthy people”, Sharon said, “The greater pity is that Likud members foiled a move which was meant to improve the Likud and push it forwards”.
Also, Sharon said during the brief government session which followed his defeat, that over the past 18 months, “a minority of coalition members” attempted to interfere with his government.
Opposition leader Yosef Lapid, from the Shinui party, suggested that Sharon should call for early elections.
“Your government is unworthy to continue functioning”, Lapid told Sharon, “You should take advantage and call for early elections”.
Also, MK Avraham Poraz, from the Shinui party, said that Sharon is not a powerful Prime Minister, “He is rather a defeated Prime Minister, an exhausted one”.
The 11 members of Shas movement at the Knesset said earlier that they would vote against Sharon’s proposal.