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Rivlin elected president of Israel

Rivlin will be Israel's 10th president.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, June 10 (UPI) -- Right-wing Reuven Rivlin was selected as the next president of Israel Tuesday in a second-round runoff election in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.

Rivlin, 74, of the Likud party, defeated centrist Meir Sheetrit by 63 to 53 votes. The vote came to determine a successor to President Shimon Peres, who is leaving office in July.

In a post-election speech, Rivlin addressed the Knesset as well as "all citizens of Israel, including Jews, Arabs, Druze, the rich, the poor, the more and less observant" and recited a prayer of thanks.

Rivlin is staunchly conservative and a former Knesset speaker. His platform includes granting Israeli citizenship to Palestinians instead of statehood, and opposes Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.

He received only modest support, though, from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fellow Likud member with whom he has a long feud. Natanyahu attempted to delay the election under other candidates could be found.

The leadership of Peres, 90, restored the presidency to a level of prestige hampered by scandals. His predecessor, Moshe Katsav, is in jail after a rape conviction, and Katsav's predecessor, Ezer Weizman, retired after corruption charges surfaced.

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