Israel Parliament to Elect New President on Tuesday

Monday, 09 Jun 2014 07:11 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Israel's parliament, the Knesset, will vote to elect a new president on Tuesday to replace Shimon Peres, 90, whose term expires on July 15, Israeli media reported.

Voting will be by secret ballot. Members of parliament's 12 parties are free to vote their conscience.

The apparent front-runner is former Knesset Speaker Reuven "Ruby" Rivlin, a member of the governing Likud Party.

The other candidates are former Knesset member Dalia Itzik, left-leaning former Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, Nobel Prize laureate Dan Shechtman, and Knesset member Meir Sheetrit of the dovish Hatnuah Party.

The candidates will be lobbying Knesset members Monday seeking support.

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If no candidate gets an absolute majority of the 120-member Knesset, there will be a runoff between the two leading candidates.

Among the real powers of Israel's president is to decide which party will lead efforts to form a government after elections and to pardon or commute criminals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is known to want to do away with the mostly ceremonial office altogether.

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