Israeli exits presidential race over graft probe

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Associated Press

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Updated Saturday, Jun 7 at 1:06 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior Israeli politician has dropped out of the country's presidential election days before the vote over a graft probe.

Labor party candidate Binyamin Ben-Eliezer made the announcement Saturday. Ben-Eliezer, a former general and seasoned politician, had been questioned by police over illegally accepting funds. Ben-Elieer says he is a victim of a smear campaign, noting that the allegations against him surfaced ahead of the election.

He wrote on his Facebook page: "With a very heavy heart, I have made the decision to withdraw from the race."

Israel's presidential election will be held Tuesday. It is a secret ballot vote among the Israeli parliament's 120 members.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Nobel Prize laureate, ends his seven-year term as the country's ceremonial head of state this summer.

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