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Knesset vote for President Rivlin’s successor set for June 2

Secret ballot to take place just over a month before Rivlin’s seven-year term ends; candidates have until May 19 to collect signatures of at least 10 MKs

President Reuven Rivlin announces he is tasking Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming a new government, during a speech at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 5, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin announces he is tasking Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming a new government, during a speech at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 5, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

The parliamentary vote for Israel’s next president will be held on June 2, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin announced Monday after reaching the decision with his deputies.

The secret ballot vote will take place just over a month before President Reuven Rivlin’s seven-year term elapses on July 9.

Those interested in running have until May 19 to collect the signatures of at least ten Knesset members in order to file their candidacy.

Announcing the election date, Levin said that he hoped “that in these complex days, the president elected will be a person acceptable to all parts of [Israeli] society.”

Thus far, former Likud MK Yehudah Glick, former Labor minister Shimon Shitrit and former Labor MK Michael Bar-Zohar have announced their plans to run.

Israel Prize winner Miriam Peretz speaks at the Jewish federation’s annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv, on October 23, 2018. (Miriam Alster/ FLASH90)

However, former Labor leader and current Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog and Israel Prize winner Miriam Peretz were said to be mulling runs, and either would likely become a frontrunner if they threw their hat in the ring.

Herzog is the son of Israel’s sixth president, Chaim Herzog. Peretz, an educator and activist, became a prominent public figure after losing two soldier sons in battles in Lebanon and Gaza.

In recent weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s name has also been raised as a possibility, though he has yet to express any interest. The idea was reportedly born in coalition negotiations as a way to coax the premier into gracefully stepping down and allow for the formation of a right-wing government.

Last week, former minister and Labor chair Amir Peretz announced he was ending his campaign for the presidency, departing the political sphere after decades as a lawmaker.

Peretz saw his popularity in Labor plummet after he joined the unity government formed last year by Netanyahu and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz. Peretz had vowed repeatedly during the preceding election campaign that he would not sit in a Netanyahu government and even shaved his mustache on live television so viewers could “read his lips” when he repeated the declaration.

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