Likud lawmaker Reuven Rivlin was named Tuesday as Israel’s tenth president, but authorities have yet to decide when the newly elected president’s inaugural ceremony will actually take place.
President Shimon Peres is expected to officially step down from his prestigious position after seven years in office on July 26. However, since the date lands on a Saturday, authorities at the Knesset were debating whether to swear Rivlin in on Thursday, July 24, or a day after Peres’s final departure from the President’s Residence, on July 27, officials said Tuesday.
“It will definitely be sometime around the 26th,” a Knesset spokesman told the Times of Israel, adding that officials were leaning toward July 24th.
Rivlin is expected to move into the President’s Residence in the city’s Rehavia neighborhood. However, the president-elect, a lifelong Jerusalem resident, is considering staying in his family home in the city’s Yefe Nof neighborhood across the city, according to Channel 2 news.
Rivlin beat out Hatnua candidate Meir Sheetrit, a veteran MK from the center of the political spectrum, by 63-53 in the second round of voting Tuesday, following a tumultuous campaign.
After securing the win, Rivlin visited the Western Wall and the grave of his father, who unsuccessfully ran to be Israel’s third president, on the Mount of Olives.
Rivlin was considered the favorite coming into the race after he secured the public support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several weeks ago.
But there was considerable speculation that outsider Sheetrit would overtake him on the second round run-off. Rivlin had failed to win the presidency seven years ago, when Peres beat him, and many analysts believed he was about to fail again.
At a toast following the announcement, Rivlin pledged to abandon party politics and become “a man of the nation.” The President’s Residence, which he will shortly occupy, is “the house of all Israelis,” he said.
The president elect briefly put on a skullcap and recited the peace blessing. He also turned to Sheetrit during his address and said, “What a fight you put up.”
“Citizens of Israel,” Rivlin said in closing. “I thank you for your trust. Long live Israeli democracy, long live the state of Israel.”
Rivlin came out on top of the first round with 44 votes, while Sheetrit garnered 31, Dalia Itzik 28, Dalia Dorner 13 and Dan Shechtman just one vote. Two of the 119 votes were invalidated because there were two slips inside the envelope, and MK Meir Porush did not vote because he was abroad.
Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report