Israel's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, maintaining his innocence and vowing to clear his name, has resigned both posts just 38 days before national elections after it was revealed he would be indicted on breach of trust charges.
The charges related to allegations that Mr Lieberman used his influence to promote the former Israeli ambassador to Belarus to another post because the ambassador leaked to Mr Lieberman information about an investigation against him.
''Though I know I did nothing wrong, after 16 years of legal proceedings, investigations and wiretaps I have decided to resign from my position as foreign minister and deputy prime minister so I can clear my name without delay,'' said Mr Lieberman.
His statement suggests the chairman of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beytenu party will retain the No.2 position on the joint ticket with the Likud party for the January 22 poll.
''I believe the citizens of Israel have the right to go to the ballots after this whole issue is put to rest, meaning after the matter is settled in court, and I can continue to serve the public and the state as part of a strong and united leadership that will meet the security, economic and diplomatic challenges facing the country,'' he said.
Israeli media reports indicated that the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had wished Mr Lieberman luck in proving his innocence so he could return to government.
The leader of the Labour Party, Shelly Yachimovich, told The Jerusalem Post Mr Lieberman's indictment had ''severely undermined the rule of law and the public's trust in its elected leadership and democracy''.
It was only in late October that Mr Netanyahu announced his right-wing Likud party would run a joint ticket with Mr Lieberman's Yisrael Beytenu.
It is the second time in the past year that one of Mr Netanyahu's political deals has backfired.
In June he and the leader of the Kadima party, Shaul Mofaz, announced they had formed a coalition, taking the possibility of early elections off the agenda and suggesting resolution of the contentious issue of ultra-Orthodox Jews being exempt from military service.
It took just 70 days for that deal to implode, and Mr Netanyahu looked elsewhere to build his coalition.
The Attorney-General, Yehuda Weinstein, announced on Thursday that he would indict Mr Lieberman on breach of trust charges.