Political circles have been buzzing for days over the question of whether or not former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri will run for mayor of Jerusalem.
On Tuesday morning, Deri gave his final answer and said, “I weighed it out, and consulted with my rabbis and with attorneys. I have made the decision to run,” said Deri in an interview for Galei Tzahal (Israel Army Radio).
Deri said he would be pursuing office through legal recourse.
Deri served three years in prison after being convicted in 1999 of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. These offenses carry moral turpitude, disallowing him to run for public office.
Later on Tuesday Deri submitted his paperwork to the Israeli Central Elections Committee ahead of his mayoral bid.
Committee Chairman, Judge Eliezer Rivlin, will oversee the debate on Deri's request to run for office. If the committee declines, Deri's last possible course of action will be asking President Shimon Peres to pardon him.
The ultra-Orthodox media has been occupying itself with the possibility of a Deri run.
Last week Shas Chairman Eli Yishai announced that his party will support Deri’s candidacy, should he decide to run.
The law determines that those convicted of an offense carrying moral turpitude cannot run for public office if seven years have not yet lapsed since the end of their sentence. Thus, Deri would not be able to run until mid-2009.