President Shimon Peres is opposed to any change in the law regarding the tenure of the President which would enable him to remain in office longer than the seven years for which he was initially elected.
Following radio reports on Wednesday morning that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was allegedly seeking to have Peres remain in office for another year during which time the law would be amended to enable the public rather than the Knesset to elect the president, Peres' office released a statement clarifying that the president opposes any change to the law and fully intends to complete his term in accordance with the current law at the end of July 2014.
Peres has a number of plans in connection with the Peres Center for Peace in addition to which in recent months, he has received numerous invitations to visit countries around the world after completing his tenure.
Current heads of state and of major organizations and institutions abroad want to have Peres as an honored guest with or without an official role or a title. Peres is a living legend and is widely recognized as such.
Prior to the election of Israel’s eighth president, the law permitted a president to serve two consecutive five-year terms before stepping down.
Yitzhak Navon, Israel’s highly popular fifth president stepped down after one five year term because he wanted to return to politics, and resumed his political career as both a member of Knesset and minister for education.
Ezer Weizmann, Israel’s seventh president, who also enjoyed great popularity, was found to have committed a fiscal violation for which he could no longer be prosecuted due to the expiry of the statute of limitations, but given the circumstances he could no longer function as president.
At the time he was already serving the second year of his second term, and the law was changed in accordance with that period of service, so that a president is now elected for a single seven year term instead of a five year term, with the option to serve another five years.
After Peres was elected, there were rumors that he would try to get the law changed so that he could remain in office indefinitely, but he made it clear from the start, that he did not want to serve beyond his legally allotted term, and then to focus what remains of his career on the Peres Center for Peace.
Would-be candidates for the role of Israel’s 10th president whose hopes may have been dashed early in the day can now rest easy- at least until they are nominated by ten MKs, and after that until the elections.