Israel's Ruling Party Elects New Leader

The key foreign policy challenge, however, will be Iran and its pursuit of nuclear power. There has been much speculation about Israel's plan to attack Iran's facilities unless the Islamic Republic stops its uranium refinement activities.

The fateful decision to launch such an attack will probably fall during the next year and on the next prime minister's watch.

And What of Ehud Olmert?

There is much speculation about what he will do once his party has voted him out of its leadership. According to the constitution, he can remain in the prime minister's office until the Knesset swears in the next prime minister.

Mark Regev, his senior press spokesman, told ABC News, "Once a new Kadima leader has been selected he will go to the president and resign and become the interim prime minister of an interim government. He will not shirk those responsibilities."

The implication is that Olmert will not quit the top job until his replacement forms a new government, and that can take weeks. And if the elected successor fails, Olmert may well stay in the prime minister's office until new elections are held, probably in March 2009.

So although he votes himself out of one top political job today, Olmert may yet be some months away from taking his final bow on Israel's political stage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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