Israeli PM To Resign Amid Corruption Probe
Facing burgeoning corruption allegations and plummeting popularity, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today he will resign in September, The Associated Press reports.
Olmert said he would not run in his party's primary election Sept. 17 and would step down afterward to allow his successor to form a government. But because of Israel's political system, he could serve until well into next year.
His decision will end a long public career that has been clouded by allegations of corruption that have battered him in recent months.
The allegations into Olmert's finances, the fifth in the past two years, began in May and is focusing on whether the prime minister improperly took $150,000, mostly in cash, for campaigns over at least a six-year stretch when he was Jerusalem's mayor and minister of trade for former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli police said Morris "Moshe" Talansky, a 75-year-old financier from Long Island, is suspected of giving money to Olmert directly or through his associates.
Olmert had previously said he would step down if indicted. In May, in an interview with Lally Weymouth of Newsweek and The Post, Olmert said he was giving thought to the "ramifications" of resigning.
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