Ehud Olmert speaks following verdict.
Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely on Wednesday requested that the central elections
commission disqualify former prime minister Ehud Olmert from running for office
in the upcoming Knesset elections.
Hotovely's grounds for disqualifying
Olmert would be to ask that Justice Elyakim Rubenstein, who also heads the
election commission, make a finding that Olmert's actions for which he was
convicted in the Investment Affair constituted moral turpitude.
regarding moral turpitude states that where such a finding is made, the person
whose acts constituted moral turpitude cannot run for election for seven
Only a few weeks ago, the Jerusalem District Court accepted the
state prosecution's position to forego deciding on the issue of moral turpitude
as long as the issue was merely theoretical and without any concrete
At the time, Olmert formally renounced all of his state
privileges as a former prime minister, including staffing and payment of a
variety of costs.
One he had renounced those privileges and since, at the
time, there were no elections on the horizon, the court said it would pass on
the issue and leave it for a later date, possibly even a different public
Speaking on condition of anonymity, state prosecution
sources indicated they had passed on the issue because if Olmert tried to run
again, they knew the issue would be raised in one or more legal forums.
However, following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's announcement of new elections
Tuesday night and former minister Haim Ramon's public statements Wednesday that he was seeking to recruit Olmert
to return to lead a center-left block, Hotovely decided that the issue was no longer theoretical.
In her letter to the commission, Hotovely noted that while Olmert had been
convicted of one crime of breaching the public trust in the Investment Affair,
the affair itself included four separate actions of breach of the public
Hotovely also noted the court's statement that Olmert's conviction
was not a mere "technical" one, but was one of the most serious crimes
especially legislated for public servants to maintain minimal standards for who
can be a public servant.
Hotovely said that "elections are the time to
strengthen the public's faith in the political system." She added that "even if
he has some marginal support" the "return of an offender convicted of corruption
while in public office seriously harms the Knesset's position" in the public
The Likud MK also said that Olmert's attempted return was even more
problematic since "the ink still isn't dry" on his conviction.
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