JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government survived three no-confidence motions in parliament on Monday in a vote boycotted by a key member of his ruling coalition.
One of the three motions was approved by 41 votes to 40 after Olmert's Shas coalition partner shunned the vote. It was the first time since taking office over two years ago that more parliament members had voted against Olmert's government in a no-confidence motion than for it.
Under Israeli law, 61 votes are needed to pass a no-confidence motion, leading to the dissolution of the 120 member parliament and heralding new elections.
Local media reported that legislators from the Orthodox Jewish party Shas stayed away from the vote in protest at the appointment of a legislator from the Labor Party, Olmert's main coalition partner, as head of parliament's powerful Finance Committee.
The result cast further doubt on whether Olmert would survive a police investigation into allegations that he took bribes from an American Jewish businessman.
The veteran politician denies any wrong doing but has said he would step down if indicted. His Kadima party is to hold an internal vote in September that could replace him.
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