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Israeli President Faces Pressure to Resign


Israel's President Moshe Katsav is facing growing pressure to resign after the country's attorney general said he plans to indict him for alleged sex crimes.

In a statement Wednesday, Foreign and Acting Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said the president's resignation is appropriate at this time.

She said he should prepare his defense from outside the president's residence.

Several lawmakers have also said the president must step down. Some have threatened to seek legislative action to remove him from office.

Mr. Katsav, who has denied any wrongdoing, is to hold a news conference Wednesday. News reports say he is expected to announce a temporary leave of absence.

The attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, said Tuesday he has enough evidence to indict the president on charges including the rape of a former employee and obstruction of justice.

A final decision to indict Mr. Katsav will be made after a hearing.

At the hearing, Mr. Katsav will argue his defense.

The president has immunity from prosecution while in office. He could stand trial after leaving his largely ceremonial post.

Police looking into allegations against the president last year said they had evidence of the president's involvement in illegal wiretapping and fraud.

If indicted, this will be the first time an Israeli president faces criminal charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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