Keep an eye on this story. It will have implications moving forward. It will be interesting to see how world dealings with Iran move forward.
JERUSALEM (June 13) – Elder statesman Shimon Peres has been elected Israel’s next president, winning the support of 86 of parliament’s 120 members in a second and final round of balloting, Channel TV reported Wednesday. Peres, of the ruling Kadima Party, all but clinched the race after his two rivals withdrew after the first round of voting earlier in the day. Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has held all of Israel’s top civilian posts, later advanced to a yes-or-no vote in parliament. The ordinarily quiet contest has been closely watched because of Peres’ campaign to cap his six-decade political career with a term in the president’s mansion, and rape allegations against the sitting president, Moshe Katsav. Peres, of the ruling Kadima Party, received an unexpectedly high 58 votes in parliament’s secret balloting in round one. Reuven Rivlin, a lawmaker and former parliament speaker from the hawkish Likud, took 37, and legislator Colette Avital of the Labor Party, 21. Shortly after the votes were tallied, Avital announced she would not advance to a second round, and Labor said it would throw its support to Peres, who spent most of his political career in that party. Shortly afterward, a weeping Rivlin said he, too, would pull out of the contest, and asked the legislature to unanimously back Peres. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the dovish Peres, said his party, too, would vote for him. The new president takes office July 15, for a seven-year term. Political science professor Gideon Doron of Tel Aviv University said the results were not surprising. Rivlin comes from a party with only 12 seats, and the lawmakers’ desire to restore the presidency’s prestige prevailed over political differences, he said.
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