JERUSALEM, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Israeli lawmakers convened at the Knesset (parliament) on Tuesday morning in order to vote for new president.
Members of parliament started voting at 11:00 a.m. local time ( GMT +3) in a secret ballot. A candidate needs to receive more than 60 votes (out of an overall 119; one parliament member is abroad) in order to become president.
If no candidate receives such a majority of votes, there will be another round of election between the two frontrunners.
Analysts and experts expect that there will be a run-off vote as it is unlikely that any one of the candidates will secure the needed 61 votes to win in the first round.
There are five nominees vying to replace Shimon Peres, who has been president since 2007 and will finish his term on July 28: Reuven Rivlin (Likud), Meir Sheetrit (Hatnua), former Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik, former Justice Dalia Dorner and Chemistry Noble Prize laureate Prof. Dan Shectman.
Rivlin, who was publicly endorsed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is the most likely candidate to win the race. According to opinion polls published throughout Israeli media outlets, he is also the preferred candidate by the Israeli public with support rates of 30 percent.
On Saturday, a sixth candidate, Benjamin Ben Eliezer (Labor) withdrew from the race after he was interrogated by the police over charges of corruption, namely receiving bribe and evading tax payments.
The role of president is mainly ceremonial in Israel without much executive power.