(Washington, D.C., July 30, 2008) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will resign his office on or about September 17th. Suffering single digit approval ratings and haunted by numerous on-going corruption investigations, the Prime Minister just announced on national television that he will step down after the Kadima party primaries.
"I have decided I won't run in the Kadima movement primaries, nor do I intend to intervene in the elections," the embattled politician said just moments ago. "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....I want to make it clear – I am proud to be a citizen of a country where the prime minister can be investigated like a regular citizen. It is the duty of the police to investigate, and the duty of the prosecution to instruct the police. The prime minister is not above the law.... From my first day in office I was forced to ward off malicious attacks, even while dealing with far-reaching decisions affecting Israel's defense and existence. I continue to believe with all my heart that the achievement of peace, combating terror, strengthening our security, and the realization of a different type of relationship with our neighbors are all necessary goals for the future of the State of Israel."
It's not clear yet when new elections will be held. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently well ahead of all contenders to replace Olmert, but Israeli politics are Byzantine, to say the least, and anything could happen.
Israel's political crisis could not come at a worse time, with the real threat of war with Iran growing daily.
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