Israeli President Shimon Peres will not continue to serve as president beyond the scheduled end of his term in July, the President’s Residence said in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement came against the backdrop of renewed speculation over the fate of the institution and the rules governing the presidential election process.
On Wednesday, Army Radio reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s advisers are considering drafting legislation to establish a nationwide vote for the presidency, rather than the current system of the Knesset’s 120 members choosing the president in a secret ballot. According to the report, the prime minister is also not ruling out abolishing the institution of president altogether.
The Israeli president’s position is mostly ceremonial, although he does have some real powers. The president must approve government coalitions after Knesset elections (although these are mostly predetermined by party alliances), and can dissolve the Knesset (at the request of the prime minister) and grant clemency.