JERUSALEM — A court ordered former prime minister Ehud Olmert Monday to pay a fine and serve a one-year suspended sentence for his role in a corruption case that forced him from office, a relatively light punishment that could clear the way for a political comeback.
Olmert, who had faced the possibility of jail time or community service, was ordered to pay an $18,000 fine. By avoiding those stiffer penalties, the former leader is now eligible to run for Parliament, though he remains barred from serving in a Cabinet post.
Olmert, 66, has not said whether he wants to seek office again, but confidants say he is certainly considering it.
Olmert was deeply unpopular when he was forced from office. But recently, many commentators have lamented the breakdown in Mideast peace efforts and wondered whether Olmert might have delivered an agreement if he had not been driven from office.