TEL-AVIV, June 10 (RIA Novosti) – Reuven Rivlin, former speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has been elected the country’s next president and will succeed Shimon Peres, whose seven-year term is ending in July.
Reuven Rivlin won in the run-off with legislator Meir Sheetrit by a vote of 63 to 53 in a secret ballot in the Knesset.
The other three candidates – first female speaker of the Knesset Dalia Itzik, former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner and Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman – lost in the first round.
Rivlin will become Israel’s 10th president in the country’s 66 year history. The presidency, however, is largely ceremonial, with more power resting in the hands of the country’s prime minister.
Reuven Rivlin belongs to the Likud party, and ran in the 2007 presidential election opposite Shimon Peres, who advocated a peaceful solution of the Palestinian conflict. Born in Jerusalem, Rivlin is a harsh opponent of the creation of a Palestinian state. The new president was first elected to the Knesset in 1988 and has been a parliamentary speaker twice in his career.