Edelstein denies he seeks to be Knesset speaker

Likud minister prefers holding portfolio; Rivlin keeps mum on alleged deal to run for president in 2014.

Yuli Edelstein 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Yuli Edelstein 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein denied wanting to replace Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Monday.
Following a meeting between Edelstein and Rivlin on Sunday, Likud insiders said the two discussed the possibility of the former replacing the latter as Knesset Speaker in 2014, when President Shimon Peres finishes his term.
Rivlin has repeatedly said he wants to be the next president, and ran for the position in 2007. His office would not confirm or deny a Yisrael Hayom report that Rivlin made an agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he would remain speaker for two years, and Netanyahu would back him as the Likud's presidential candidate.
A source close to Edelstein confirmed that the minister met with Rivlin on Monday to discuss political strategy, but expressed outrage at reports that he would be Knesset Speaker.
"Yuli wants to be a senior minister and get as high a spot as possible in the primary," the source said. "People are trying to push him into jobs – Knesset Speaker, Mayor of Jerusalem – and that is not his direction."
Edelstein, who moved from the Ukraine to Israel in 1987, reached the 12th spot in the Likud's list for the 18th Knesset.
Last week, the party's convention decided to save the 21st spot on the list for an immigrant, but if Edelstein, coalition chairman Ze'ev Elkin or another immigrant make it to the national list, meaning seats 1-20, the spot is no longer saved, and the 28th will be for a new immigrant.