Tags: Israel | politics | vote | president | investigation

Israeli Presidential Candidate Quits Race After Probe

Saturday, 07 Jun 2014 10:56 AM

Israeli presidential candidate Benjamin Ben Eliezer dropped out of the race Saturday, just three days ahead of the election after being questioned by police over corruption allegations that he called a smear campaign.

Ben Eliezer, 78, is a member of the Labor party, who was a general in the military and later served in several Cabinet posts.

"Since I announced my candidacy, there has been an aggressive and orchestrated smear campaign against me, with the sole purpose of preventing me from being president," he said in a statement.

"With a very heavy heart, I've decided to withdraw from the race," he said.

He was summoned to police on Friday at the order of the attorney general and questioned on suspicion of illegally receiving money.

Israeli media reported he was asked about funding for a luxury home he bought in Jaffa.

In his statement, Ben Eliezer denied wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name, explaining he quit the race to prevent delays in electing a new president.

"I hope the 'targeted killing' I was subject to will be the last affair in this presidential campaign," he said.

In Israel the post of president is largely ceremonial and executive power rests with the prime minister.

Lawmakers will elect a successor to President Shimon Peres on Tuesday. With Ben Eliezer's resignation, the five remaining candidates are lawmakers Reuven Rivlin and Meir Sheetrit, ex-politician Dalia Itzik, former supreme court justice Dalia Dorner and chemistry Nobel Prize winner Dan Shechtman.

Peres will step down at the end of July, just before his 91st birthday, following a political career spanning nearly seven decades.

 

© AFP 2017

 
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MiddleEast
Israeli presidential candidate Benjamin Ben Eliezer dropped out of the race Saturday, just three days ahead of the election after being questioned by police over corruption allegations that he called a smear campaign.
Israel, politics, vote, president, investigation
267
2014-56-07
Saturday, 07 Jun 2014 10:56 AM
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