Ehud Olmert’s leadership of Israel is in its waning hours. It is a leadership which has been mired in criticism and corruption allegations.
He will announce his resignation to his cabinet this morning.
Olmert has been described as a political technician.
He was number two to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. It appeared to be an empty title but then Sharon suffered a stroke and Olmert took over.
His first real test was a disaster. The Lebanon War of 2006 provoked a storm of criticism. Olmert was attacked for its “faulty execution”.
Then came the corruption allegations. Among them accusations that Olmert accepted thousands of dollars from a New York-based businessman. He inisted he wasn’t guilty.
While talking peace with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Olmert sanctioned more settlement building around Jerusalem, threatening any peace initiative.
Arab leaders have complained that his departure will put the peace process back to square one, while others insist that under him it has never actually left square one.
It is now down to his successor, Tzipi Livni, to pick up the mantle once Olmert has handed his resignation to President Shimon Peres, which could happen as early as this morning.