The Kadima party of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has chosen acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to stand in as party chairman.
Polls suggest Kadima led by Mr Olmert will win the election
Mr Sharon suffered a massive stroke on 4 January and remains in a coma.
The Kadima party, formed by Mr Sharon after he left the Likud party, has a centrist platform of unilateral withdrawal from occupied territory.
Correspondents say Kadima's decision is another sign that Israeli politics is returning to normal without Mr Sharon.
Mr Olmert will lead Kadima into the Israeli general election scheduled for 28 March.
Opinion polls suggest that Kadima, under the leadership of Mr Olmert, will be the largest party in the next parliament.