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Ireland's gay presidential candidate quits race after papers report he sought clemency for ex jailed in child rape case

Associated Press

DUBLIN -- Ireland's most prominent gay politician, Sen. David Norris, has ended his campaign for president after declaring he was wrong to seek clemency for an ex-partner jailed in Israel for child rape.

Norris was considered the front-runner for the November election of Ireland's next ceremonial head of state.

But Norris faced rising pressure to quit ever since Irish newspapers last week were tipped off about his 1997 letter to an Israeli court seeking a shorter sentence for Ezra Nawi. His one-time partner had been convicted of raping a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

Key campaign aides resigned at the weekend. Norris faced an uphill struggle to be listed as an official candidate on ballots.

Norris told a Dublin news conference Tuesday he was quitting the race.

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