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Peretz, Herzog last ones standing after filing deadline for presidential race

12 18 8

The race for Israel’s next president has been set, and it will be a head-to-head matchup between Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog and Israel Prize-winning educator Miriam Peretz after all remaining contenders dropped out shortly before the midnight Thursday filing deadline.

The parliamentary vote for the next president will be held in a secret ballot among the 120 members of Knesset on June 2, just over a month before President Reuven Rivlin’s seven-year term ends on July 9.

Candidates were required to receive signatures from at least 10 MKs by the end of Wednesday in order to run. Herzog filed with 27 signatures, and Peretz filed with 11. Herzog, who is also a former chairman of the Labor party and the son of Israel’s 6th president Chaim Herzog, is seen as a frontrunner. However, the secret nature of the voting process could well leave an opening for Peretz to become the first woman ever elected to the position.

Renowned singer and actor Yehoram Gaon, former Labor MK Michael Bar-Zohar and former Likud MK Yehudah Glick who had launched early candidacies of their own, each announced their decision to bow-out shortly before the filing deadline — apparent recognition that they lacked the support necessary.

Herzog said Wednesday that he had taken unpaid leave from the Jewish Agency until after the presidential election.

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