Olmert Says He's Staying

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - In a meeting with Kadima party faction members Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is under investigation for possible bribery and money laundering, said he'll run in his party's primaries.

Notwithstanding the upcoming vote to dissolve the Knesset (parliament), rescheduled for June 25, which call for general elections on November 11, Olmert predicted that elections would be staved off until March, at which time he would be re-elected prime minister.

Meanwhile, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party announced that it will support MK (member of Knesset) Silvan Shalom's bill for dissolution of the Knesset.

Defense Minister and Labor party chairman Ehud Barak, who has vacillated on the issue, told his party to prepare for elections.

"We would prefer to see stability, but if the reality necessitates it, then there is nothing to fear by going to elections," Barak said.

Earlier, Labor MK Ami Ayalon, speaking at a meeting of the Movement for Quality Government, said he would work toward early elections.

"The time when a politician could accept envelopes of cash and stay, while the good people go home, is over," Aylon said, referring to the National Fraud Unit's investigation of the prime minister.

"If Israeli citizens believe that in order to be a politician you have to be corrupt, then only corrupt people will be in politics. Even in politics, there's a limit to what is acceptable. Olmert has to go home," he said.

Meanwhile, Arab Knesset members said they will vote against Shalom's bill to dissolve the Knesset, preferring the Olmert government to one potentially led by opposition leader and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, YNet news

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