Olmert calls for new government fast as coalition bargaining picks up steam

JERUSALEM (AP) âÄî IsraelâÄôs outgoing prime minister called on hard-line Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new government quickly as coalition bargaining shifted into high gear Sunday. Opening the weekly meeting of his soon-to-be-dissolved Cabinet, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel needed a new government soon. Negotiators should âÄúconduct things in an effective and fast way in order to establish, as quickly as possible, a government that will enjoy full authority and will be able to rule effectively,âÄù Olmert said. Olmert is a caretaker prime minister until Netanyahu can form a new ruling coalition. After having been entrusted with the task of forming a new government by President Shimon Peres on Friday, Netanyahu now has six weeks to do so. The question is whether he will form a narrow coalition with his hard-line allies or a broad centrist coalition with his rival, Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni. The two were slated to meet later Sunday.