Hotovely strikes to stop Olmert from running

Likud MK requests the central elections commission disqualify former prime minister from running in upcoming Knesset elections.

October 10, 2012 14:15
2 minute read.
Ehud Olmert speaks following verdict

Ehud Olmert speaks following verdict. (photo credit: Screenshot)


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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.

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The law regarding moral turpitude states that where such a finding is made, the person whose acts constituted moral turpitude cannot run for election for seven years.

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 impact.

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 judicial body.

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 trust.

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 eye.

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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