AFP: Israels Olmert resigns amid lingering turmoil

As promised, big changes in Israel:

JERUSALEM AFP — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced his resignation on Sunday, but the political uncertainty gripping Israel and casting a shadow over US-backed Middle East peace talks is far from over.

“I have decided to end my functions as prime minister of the government of Israel,” Olmert told a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, days after Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was elected leader of their centrist Kadima party.

“I hope that Tzipi Livni will succeed in forming a national government with the composition she wants,” Olmert said in remarks broadcast on television. “For my part I will help her with all my strength.”

Olmerts office later said in a statement that he would meet President Shimon Peres at 7:30 pm 1630 GMT to submit his resignation and formally initiate what could be a months-long process to form a new government.

Olmert has been battling corruption allegations for several months, and on July 30 he said he would step down once his party chose a new leader.

Once Olmert formally tenders his resignation Peres is expected to give Livni 42 days to form a government and avert snap general elections, which polls indicate would bring the right-wing Likud party to power.

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AFP: Israels Olmert resigns amid lingering turmoil.

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