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Olmert to resign as Israeli PM over corruption probe

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Olmert to resign as Israeli PM over corruption probe

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will step down over a corruption probe after his ruling Kadima party chooses a new leader in two months time.

His political future had been thrown in doubt in recent months by the police investigation into the corruption allegations.

The two main inquiries involve suspicions that Olmert took bribes from an American businessman, and that he submitted duplicate claims for travel expenses while in previous poltical roles.

He said: “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 has denied any wrongdoing but had said he would resign if indicted.

Several Kadima ministers, including foreign minister Tzipi Livni have launched campaigns to replace him as prime minister.

She was among several close colleagues urging him to stand down in the interests of his party and the country.