Cabinet formally ends Sharon's tenure

April 12, 2006|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

JERUSALEM -- Ariel Sharon's outsized brown leather chair sat empty at his Cabinet's table for the last time yesterday as government ministers formally ended the stricken Israeli leader's tenure as prime minister.

By a unanimous vote, the Cabinet declared Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a devastating stroke Jan. 4, to be permanently incapacitated.

The vote was a formality, spurred by legal necessity. Sharon's deputy, Ehud Olmert, assumed the duties of office the night the 78-year-old leader suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke. Olmert's 100-day temporary tenure would have run out during the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins at dusk today.

The vote officially will transfer powers of the post as of Friday to Olmert, 60, who is in the process of forming a new government after his party's victory in March 28 elections.

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