Israel’s Olmert to Hang It Up
Posted on Jul 30, 2008
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, beset by accusations of corruption and bribery, announced Wednesday that he will resign after an internal Kadima Party election to choose a new leader on Sept. 17.
Due to the fragmented character of Israeli’s parliament, the winner of this new election will not immediately be appointed prime minister, however, and a new coalition government will have to be formed.
Olmert’s decision not to run in the upcoming leadership election and then to step down throws Israeli politics into fresh turmoil and may cast into limbo peace talks that he launched with the Palestinians and Syria.
“I have decided I won’t run in the Kadima movement primaries, nor do I intend to intervene in the elections,” Olmert said in a surprise announcement from his official residence in Jerusalem.
“When a new (Kadima party) chairman is chosen, I will resign as prime minister to permit them to put together a new government swiftly and effectively,” Olmert added.
Olmert is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes from an American businessman and allegedly double-dipping for travel expenses when he was trade minister and mayor of Jerusalem.