The preliminary reading of a bill to disperse the Knesset (parliament) scheduled for Wednesday was postponed after the mediation between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Olmert agreed to set a date for a primary in his Kadima party held before September 25, in exchange that Labor party gave up voting in favor of the bill made by Likud member of Knesset (MK) Silvan Shalom calling for dissolving the Knesset, local daily Ha'aretz reported Wednesday.
The agreement was a result of a meeting at the home of Barak between Labor Secretary General Eitan Cabel, head of Kadima's steering committee, MK Tzahi Hanegbi, and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon. The meeting lasted several hours and allowed both parties to avoid a potentially hazardous political showdown.
According to the agreement, Olmert will hold a Kadima faction meeting next Monday to vote on changing the party charter to allow primary elections. Ten days later the party's council is due to approve the change in the charter and set the date for the primary elections.
Olmert had threatened to dismiss Labor ministers who would votein favor of the Knesset dissolution bill.
An associate of Barak was quoted by Jerusalem Post as saying that the only way early general elections would be prevented was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert allowed his party to set a date for a primary.
"The ball is in Kadima's court," a Barak associate said. "There is a lot of pressure on Olmert. But anything can happen in the final hours, and I cannot say there is no chance a deal will be reached."