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Olmert's resignation announcement sparks vote call

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Olmert's resignation announcement sparks vote call

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The leader of Israel’s right-wing opposition has called for fresh elections following Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s announcement that he is to stand down over a corruption probe. Recent opinion polls show Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party would win a snap election.

Olmert said yesterday he will resign after his centrist Kadima party votes for a new leader in September. He has faced weeks of pressure to go amid an investigation into suspicions he took bribes from an American businessman. Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and says he is standing down in the interests of the country and to focus on clearing his name

Four of Olmert’s close colleagues, including Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have launched campaigns to replace him. Whoever wins will then face the major task of forming a new ruling coalition.