News / Middle East

Israeli Parliament Votes on New President to Succeed Peres

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) casts his ballot for the presidential election at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem, June 10, 2014.
Reuters
Israel's parliament voted on Tuesday for a new head of state to succeed President Shimon Peres after a scandal-tinged race for a largely ceremonial post that is supposed to serve as a moral authority for the nation.
 
None of the five candidates to take over from Peres, a Nobel peace prize laureate whose term expires next month, captured the required 61 votes in the 120-seat legislature, to win outright, and a run-off will be held later in the day.
 
In the second round, Reuven Rivlin, a former speaker of parliament who garnered 44 votes, will face Meir Sheetrit, an experienced centrist politician, who took 31.
 
Rivlin, 74, is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. He has a reputation for political independence, opposes Palestinian statehood and has had a rocky relationship with the Israeli leader.
 
Sheetrit, a one-time ally of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has headed six ministries during his lengthy career, including the finance and interior ministries. He is a member of the moderate Hatnuah party, which is in the ruling coalition.
 
Last month, Netanyahu floated a trial balloon on the future of the presidency, ordering key advisers to sound out cabinet colleagues on suspending the poll and evaluating the need for the position, political sources said.
 
Some political analysts suggested that Netanyahu was concerned that a Rivlin victory could make him more vulnerable in a future general election. Israeli law grants the president the power to choose who should try to put together a government.
 
No single party has ever won an outright majority in a national poll. That makes the president - whose duties otherwise carry little power - a key player in coalition-building.
 
The campaign for the election of Israel's 10th president has been marred by rumors of foul play and mudslinging.
 
One leading candidate, veteran Labor politician Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, pulled out of the race on Saturday after police questioned him about alleged financial malpractice.
 
Ben-Eliezer denied any wrongdoing and said he had been “deliberately targeted” by enemies out to sabotage his bid.
 
Several weeks ago, another presidential hopeful decided against declaring his candidacy after authorities opened - and subsequently closed - a sex crimes investigation against him.
 
In the rough-and-tumble world of Israeli politics, the president is supposed to stay above the fray and promote national unity and moral values.
 
Peres, a 90-year-old internationally respected statesman, restored prestige to the post after he was elected in 2007 to replace Moshe Katsav, who was convicted of rape in 2010 and is serving a seven-year prison term.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid