8:10 PM, July 30, 2008: Olmert announces that he will leave office in 2 months!
What a disappointment....well, maybe not.
After a 14 minute surprise press conference, first Olmert drags it on saying how wonderful the government is, how everything in Israel is grand, how the police have been hounding him over investigations in which de did nothing wrong, and he has answers for everything.
Instead of outright resigning, he is only stepping down after the Kadima primaries.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday that he has decided not to contend in the Kadima primary and would resign as soon as the new party leader was chosen, due to the criminal investigation that have embroiled him in recent months.[He may not be beneath the law, but he's certainly beneath contempt. -Lurker]
Olmert made the announcement in a statement to the public from his official residence in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening.
The prime minister has been under official criminal investigation in recent months over allegations of corruption in his former capacities as Jerusalem mayor and trade minister.
Political sources had expected Olmert to announce that he would not run in upcoming leadership contest in his Kadima party, scheduled for September 17. This decision in effect signals an end to Olmert's political career.
Olmert began the address by saying that despite having been beset by investigations during his tenure, he has improved the situation in Israel and continues to believe that peace is the most important track for the country.
The prime minister went on to say that as long as he was in power, he would work toward this goal of peace.
"I am proud to be the prime minister of a country that investigates its prime ministers," he said. "The prime minister is not above the law, but he is in no way beneath it."