June 18, 2008 - 4:14pm

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's parliament could hold a preliminary vote as early as June 25 on whether to dissolve itself and force an election that could replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, legislative officials said on Wednesday.

Olmert has vowed to stay in office and continue to lead his Kadima party unless indicted in a corruption investigation that has drawn calls from political allies and foes alike for his resignation.

He has denied any wrongdoing in the case. A New York-based financier testified in court last month that he gave Olmert $150,000 in cash and loans over a 15-year-period before the veteran politician became prime minister.

Both the opposition Likud party and Olmert's main coalition partner, Labor, have submitted separate resolutions to dissolve parliament over the suspicions against the prime minister.

Labor and Likud officials said on Wednesday a preliminary vote could take place as early as June 25. Subsequent votes needed to pass the resolutions could be held by the end of parliament's summer session in late July.

In the meantime, Olmert's lawyers plan to cross-examine the U.S. businessman next month and Israel's attorney-general has ordered police to expedite the investigation. It would up to the attorney-general to decide ultimately whether to indict Olmert.

(Reporting by Avida Landau, Editing by Ralph Boulton)


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