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Poll: Majority of Israelis Want Olmert to Resign


A new poll says a majority of Israelis want Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign because of accusations he accepted bribes from a U.S. businessman.

The newspaper Yediot Aharonot published results Monday indicating 59 percent of Israelis want him to quit, while 33 percent say he should finish out his term. Sixty percent say they do not believe Mr. Olmert's assertions of innocence.

More than four in 10 Israelis say Mr. Olmert's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, would be best suited to replace Mr. Olmert as head of the centrist Kadima party.

Mr. Olmert is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from U.S. businessman Morris Talansky. Talansky and the prime minister say the funds were legal campaign contributions.

Israeli police have questioned both men in recent days. Mr. Olmert has vowed to resign if indicted.

Israeli cabinet ministers from Mr. Olmert's ruling Kadima Party said Sunday they support his decision to stay in office while police continue to investigate the allegations.

Mr. Olmert has been the subject of several police investigations into his conduct before he became prime minister. But he has never been charged.

Mr. Olmert was twice elected Jerusalem mayor in the 1990s and also campaigned for posts in his former political party, the Likud.

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

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