If the “corrupt criminal” Ehud Olmert runs for office, citizens will have the chance “to give him the keys to house he broke into,” Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely said Wednesday morning.
“The candidacy of a criminal convicted for corruption in the government must be totally censured before the Left crowns him as their savior,” she added.
Olmert, who is the first and only Prime Minister to have been convicted for criminal charges, recently was given a surprisingly light sentence of a small fine and a suspended jail term. He was acquitted on even graver indictments.
The State Prosecutor is appealing the verdict, and a sentence of at least three months of community service or a jail term would prohibit him from returning to politics in the next seven years.
Leaders of the Kadima party, which has been all but decimated in the polls, are pressuring Olmert to lead the party. Another possibility is for Kadima and leftist parties to run on a joint list of candidates with Olmert as their leader.
They view him as the only possible alternative to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who announced Tuesday night he is calling for elections in the next three months due to the expected impossibility of reaching a satisfactory compromise on next year’s budget.
Olmert’s family is trying to convince him not to run for office, Voice of Israel government radio reported Wednesday. Olmert also suffers from a bad public image, having been convicted as a criminal.
Although there is no legal obstacle to his running, assuming the appeal is lost, Olmert still faces a trial on bribery charges concerning the Holy Land apartment complex, approved for re-zoning while he was mayor of Jerusalem.