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Sebastian Scheiner/AP
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

Israeli Prime Minister Will Resign in September

July 30, 2008 03:42 PM
by Rachel Balik
Still under investigation for bribery, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced that he will not run for re-election, making way for a new leader to step into office.

30-Second Summary

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced in a special press conference that he will not run in the Kadima party primary election this September. Instead, he will step down and make way for a new government. In his statement, Olmert spoke positively about his career as prime minister, outlining the ways that "Israel’s position has improved." He also criticized his opponents, and implied that the legal system had been unjust in its dealings with him.

He has been under pressure to resign since May, when authorities launched a corruption investigation pertaining to Olmert's relationship with American Morris Taransky. Olmert admitted that Taransky offered financial support for campaigns, but he vowed, “I never took bribes, I never took a penny for myself." He says that his lawyer monitored all transactions with Taransky and none were illegal. However, he said that if official charges were made, he would resign.

The prime minister had endured numerous corruption investigations in the past, but was never been formally charged with a crime. Olmert’s looming resignation presents a problem for the left, and his party, Kadima. When he leaves, the right may take control and hinder impending peace talks with the Palestinians.

Headline Link: ‘Olmert says he will resign after Kadima elects new leader’

Background: ‘National Fraud Unit Investigates Olmert’

Related Topics: Additional Olmert corruption allegations

Opinion & Analysis: Accusations will interfere with peace talks

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