Sharon’s status to be ‘incapacitated’

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JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for three months, will be declared permanently incapacitated Tuesday, a decision that signals the official end of his tenure as Israel’s leader, the Justice Ministry said Sunday.

Sharon, 78, was declared temporarily incapacitated after he lapsed into a coma following a stroke Jan. 4. Ehud Olmert stepped in for him immediately as acting prime minister, but under Israeli law he can only serve in that capacity for up to 100 days before an official replacement for Sharon has to be named.

Olmert, who won March elections, is expected to be named Sharon’s official replacement as he continues negotiating to form a governing coalition.

That deadline expires Friday, but because of Passover holiday begins Wednesday, the declaration of permanent incapacitation has been moved up to Tuesday – with the proviso that it not take effect if Sharon’s condition improves before the deadline, Justice Ministry spokesman Jacob Galanti said.

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