Israeli lawmakers begin to vote for new president

Photo: Israeli lawmakers begin to vote for new president / Israel

Israeli legislators have started voting to choose the country's next president to replace outgoing Shimon Peres, AP reported.

The largely ceremonial office of Israel's presidency is typically filled by a respected elder statesman who is expected to rise above politics and serve as a moral compass for the country. Whoever is elected likely will pale in comparison to Peres, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who brought international gravitas to the position.

Tuesday's vote caps a nasty race full of mudslinging and the derailment of two campaigns by scandals.

Lawmakers in the 120-member Knesset are voting in a secret ballot. Five candidates are vying for the spot. The front-runner is Reuven Rivlin, a veteran politician from the hawkish Likud party who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state.

Results are expected later Tuesday.

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