Barak calls on Olmert to resign in surprise press conference
Minister Ehud Barak called on Wednesday on Ehud Olmert to step aside as
Israel's prime minister after damaging testimony in a corruption case.
prime minister needs to disconnect himself from the day to day
management of the government," Barak told a news conference, adding
that his Labour Party, Olmert's biggest coalition partner, could force
an early election if he refused to go.
"I don't think the prime minister can simultaneously run the government and deal with personal issues, he added.
businessman Morris Talansky testified on Tuesday that he gave Olmert
$150,000 in cash-stuffed envelopes, including personal loans that were
never repaid, over a 15-year period before the veteran politician
became Israel's leader.
Ehud Barack is going to call a surprise news conference today at 10:30 GMT, and analysts expect he is going to ask for Israeli prime minister Ehud Omert to step down. Barack is a former Israel prime minister and the current defense minister. Olmert has been embroiled in a corruption investigation for months, but revelations last week that witnesses have testified that he insisted on cash payments in the case have brought calls for his resignation to a fever pitch.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called a surprise news conference on Wednesday, raising speculation he will demand Prime Minister Ehud Olmert step aside after damaging testimony from a U.S. businessman in a corruption case.
Barak's Labour Party is the main partner in Olmert's fragile governing coalition and a new election, certain to disrupt Israel's peace talks with the Palestinians, would be likely if it bolted.
"Either Olmert suspends himself or the Labour Party must leave the government," senior Labour legislator Danny Yatom said amid news reports that Barak would make that demand.
A spokeswoman for Barak, a former prime minister, said he would hold a news conference in Israel's parliament at 1:30 p.m. (1030 GMT). She gave no details on what he planned to say.