Isaac Herzog elected Israel president as opposition scrambles to unseat PM Netanyahu

WION Web Team
Jerusalem Published: Jun 02, 2021, 03:54 PM(IST)

Israeli Presidential candidate Isaac Herzog shakes hands with Speaker of the Knesset Yariv Levin, after he was elected president during a special parliament session in Jerusalem Photograph:( AFP )

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Hectic negotiations are underway as politicians seek to end Netanyahu's 12-year rule with the deadline ending at midnight on Wednesday

As Israeli politicians hold last-minute negotiations aimed at unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lawmakers elected Labour veteran Isaac Herzog as the country's president on Wednesday.

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Herzog, 60, replaced President Reuven Rivlin, who was elected in 2014 to the largely ceremonial post. The lawmakers voted in a secret ballot to elect Herzog.

"We need to join forces, we need to unite, we need to work together to succeed and win because it is either us or him (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) and we will prevail. We will attack and prevail," the newly elected president said.

Meanwhile, hectic negotiations are underway as politicians seek to end Netanyahu's 12-year rule with the deadline ending at midnight on Wednesday for the country's opposition to cobble together a government.

According to reports, Yair Lapid who is the frontrunner has got the support of Naftali Bennett as the opposition seeks to form a unity government.

Lapid, who is the leader of the Yesh Atid party, was given the responsibility of forming the government by former President Reuven Rivlin.

Reports said the new government might be formed on the basis of a rotating prime minister in a power-sharing agreement, with Lapid and Bennett taking turns to head the government.

Netanyahu, 71, has been in power since 2009. Last month, the Israeli forces led by defence minister Benny Gantz were involved in a clash with Hamas militants in Gaza which resulted in rocket fire from the militants and large scale air attacks by the Israeli Air Force as Netanyahu claimed Israeli forces had made big gains.

Lapid's Yesh Atid party and Israeli defence minister Gantz's centrist Blue party earlier in a statement had declared that they had agreed on the "outlines" of forming the next government with Gantz likely to keep his defence portfolio.

(With inputs from agencies)

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