Labor MK Colette Avital is determined to become the first female president of Israel, even if this means running against her mentor, Vice Premier Shimon Peres.
"I am going for myself. Both of us have different qualities. I have a right to try, and in view of the reasons for the early presidential change, I am a good candidate" she told The Jerusalem Post, alluding to the recent recommendation by police that President Moshe Katsav be indicted on rape and other charges.
Avital, 66, is an experienced politician who has acquired international contacts through representing the country abroad, as ambassador to Portugal and most recently as consul-general in New York.
She said she had secured the support of Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz.
Avital said she believed that the position of president was "a good job." She added that being in the position would enable her to change the way the job had been traditionally carried out and create a more "open presidency."
She declined to discuss Katsav's current situation, preferring to discuss her own candidacy for his position.
Among those who have indicated they may stand for president are Peres (Kadima), MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud), and former ambassador to the UN, Gad Ya'acobi.
Avital, the only female candidate for Katsav's position, said it was time for a woman president.
Her core priority would be the treatment of women in Israel, she said. "Women can do a great deal to enhance Israel's image abroad," she said.
Avital said the best way to take on the top job would be by "learning, observing what is going on when I get into office and then see what has to be done."
"I won't jump in. I want to listen to ideas and opinions. I can't do things overnight," she said.
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