Official: Peres elected president by 86 votes

Reuven Rivlin, Colette Avital drop out of race, called to support Vice Premier; Peres to assume position as of July 15 for seven years.

June 13, 2007 15:49


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Vice Premier Shimon Peres put an end to his historic losing streak Wednesday by beating out MKs Reuven Rivlin (Likud) and Colette Avital (Labor) to become Israel's ninth president. The Knesset elected Peres in a second round of voting where Peres was the only candidate. 86 MKs voted for him as president, and 23 voted against. Rivlin, a former Knesset Speaker, and Avital, a former diplomat, dropped out after the first round where they earned 37 and 21 votes respectively. The 83-year-old Peres will assume the presidency on July 15 for his seven-year term. The largely ceremonial position will cap Peres six-decade long career, in which he served in nearly all of Israel's top civilian posts, and won the Nobel Prize in 1993 for reaching an interim peace deal alongside Yitzhak Rabin and the late Yasser Arafat. Peres began his career in 1959, as an MK and top aide to Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion. He served as prime minister from 1984 to 1986 then again in 1995 after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, but never won an election for the position outright.

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