While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to postpone the next presidential elections, Senior Likud member and Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar announced Friday that he plans to oppose any attempt to change the date of the elections or cancel the presidency altogether.
Recently, it was reported that Netanyahu intends to promote legislation that would postpone the vote for presidency by six months. Sa'ar slammed the proposal on Friday, and wrote on his Facebook page: "I will oppose any attempt, if such an attempt is made, to postpone the presidential elections or cancel the institution of presidency before the vote."
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Earlier, political sources announced that Prime Minister Netanyahu is continuing to seek ways to cancel the presidential elections. According to the sources, Netanyahu wishes to appoint Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein as acting president for several months, during which he will attempt to lead a move to dismiss the institution of presidency. However, coalition officials say that as of now, no legislations concerning the matter are being considered.
The president is currently chosen in a vote by Knesset members, leading to ongoing accusations that the process is deeply politicized. Peres took over as president in 2007, after his predecessor Moshe Katsav was forced to step down due to sexual assault allegations. Katsav is now serving a prison sentence for rape and other crimes.
The leading contenders to replace Peres in July are elder statesmen Labor MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a former party leader and one-time defense minister, and former Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin of the Likud. Nobel laureate Dan Schechman and retired Supreme Court justice Dalia Dorner have also announced their intention to run for the post.