Knesset Member & Former Knesset speaker Reuven “Ruby” Rivlin, wins 2nd round of votes, making him Israel’s 10th president.
Former Knesset speaker, Likud MK Reuven Rivlin, has won Israel’s presidential elections, beating his opponent MK Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua) in the second round of votes.
While the office of president is almost completely ceremonial in nature, Israel’s president plays a key role in summoning a party leader to try and form a coalition, after elections to the Knesset are held. If the next election results are close, as many expect them to be, the identity of the president could determine which party leader is summoned first to try and put together a coalition.
There was much tension in the Knesset Tuesday morning, as persistent rumors said that MK Sheetrit was gaining strength and could be the candidate to face Rivlin in a second round of voting.
An Arab MK told the Knesset Channel before the results were announced that most Arab MKs would vote for Sheetrit, as would many other members of the opposition. MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) also said that Sheetrit was gaining ground.
Ultimately, however, Rivlin took the second round by a 10-vote margin.
President Rivlin inherits the role at a difficult time, and will have to work hard to rehabilitate the role, after the race that preceded the vote was widely described as the ugliest presidential race Israel has seen.
MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) dropped out of the contest Saturday, after being questioned by police over bribe allegations that surfaced mysteriously just a few days before the poll.
The main beneficiary from Ben Eliezer’s leaving the race was expected to be retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner, according to some analysts. Five members of Meretz, who were going to vote for Ben Eliezer, announced that they would support Dorner instead. The sixth Meretz MK, Ilan Galon, said he intended to vote for Rivlin.
However, the last-minute shift involved many MKs ditching their previous candidates in favor of Sheetrit, who was seen as posing the most serious challenge to Rivlin.
Prior to Ben-Eliezer bowing out, Rivlin’s fellow Likud MK Silvan Shalom quit the race after mysterious allegations of sexual assault were lodged against him. Many observers were extremely skeptical at the time, considering the circumstances and timing of the sudden complaint – which came 15 years after the alleged incident had occurred.
A police investigation subsequently cleared Shalom, but he left the race shortly afterwards.
View original Arutz Sheva publication at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/181557#.U5cPGiiLUYA