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Last Updated: Friday, 29 June 2007, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
Israeli president Katsav resigns
Moshe Katsav
Mr Katsav has vigorously defended his reputation in the past
Israeli President Moshe Katsav has formally submitted his resignation, a day after agreeing to plead guilty to several sexual offences.

This was part of a plea bargain that removes two rape charges against him.

Mr Katsav temporarily stepped aside earlier this year to contest allegations made by several women who had been employed by him.

Nobel peace laureate and former PM Shimon Peres will succeed him next month, following a recent election.

The speaker of parliament, Dalia Itzik, will continue to serve as acting president until then.

Mr Katsav is expected to get a suspended prison sentence and to pay damages to his accusers.

Organisations representing victims of sexual violence said they would hold a rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday to protest against the dropping of rape charges against Mr Katsav.

Rape convictions in Israel carry a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison.

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced on Thursday that Mr Katsav would plead guilty to, among other things, one count of indecent assault, describing it as a "serious criminal charge".

"Under the bargain, President Katsav admitted responsibility for a long series of sex offences, including harassment and indecent acts," he said.

Most of the allegations against Mr Katsav dated from years ago and were difficult to prove, Mr Mazuz said.

Mr Katsav's seven-year term in the largely ceremonial role had been due to end in July.


SEE ALSO
Peres to run for Israel president
30 May 07 |  Middle East
Peres elected Israel's president
13 Jun 07 |  Middle East
Israel's Katsav faces rape charge
23 Jan 07 |  Middle East
Israel MPs allow Katsav absence
25 Jan 07 |  Middle East
Israeli PM urges president to go
24 Jan 07 |  Middle East



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