Following a conciliatory meeting with Likud party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom resigned from the government Friday.
Netanyahu had asked, on Thursday, Likud ministers to resign in protest to government policies and to prepare the party list for the Knesset.
Also, the Israel Radio reported that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will replace Shalom as a foreign minister.
Shalom’s resignation came one day after the Likud Central Committee vote on the party’s list of Knesset candidates, in which many Likud "rebel" members of Knesset, who opposed the disengagement, found themselves without a realistic place on the party’s list.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Kahlon won first place in the Likud Central Committee vote – making him third on the list, since Netanyahu automatically gets first place and the No. 2 spot is reserved for Shalom and Uzi Landau, the previous head of the anti-pullout "rebels" and former leadership candidate, made the 14th place on the list.
The primaries results were also a blow to ministers who served in the current government. Associates of Education Minister Limor Livnat accused Netanyahu of failing to keep his promise to help her secure a leading spot on the list.
However, three of the four Likud ministers have submitted their resignations from the government on Thursday; among them Naveh, Livnat and Katz who already presented their resignations after initially refusing Netanyahu’s request to resign at the beginning of Thursday’s vote.
On Wednesday, Shalom who ran against Netanyahu for the Likud chairmanship, announced that he would resign only after a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu’s associates accused the foreign minister of fomenting a crisis within the party. But Shalom later agreed to resign and said he would not attend Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu announced he would take the party out of the coalition following his election as leader last month, a move that was delayed after Sharon was hospitalized.
Netanyahu’s office said that Kadima party is taking steps which will divide Jerusalem, and that Likud cannot offer an alternative to the government while it is part of it and abides by its policies.
Sources close to Netanyahu said Wednesday that it is obvious to everyone that the political system has retreated into campaign mode, spurred on by "impatient" Kadima people.