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Shimon Peres elected Israeli president

world Updated: Jun 13, 2007 22:25 IST
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Israeli elder statesman Shimon Peres was formally elected the country's ninth president on Wednesday, winning 86 of the 120 eligible votes casted by Knesset members in a second round of balloting.

Peres' victory became assured earlier in the day when his main opponent, opposition legislator Reuven Rivlin, announced he was withdrawing his candidacy after receiving far fewer votes than expected in the first round of voting.

The other challenger, former diplomat and current Labour Party legislator Collette Avital, had dropped out by the time Rivlin made his announcement.

Under Israeli law, a candidate needs an absolute majority of Knesset votes (61) to be elected president. Peres scored 58 votes in the first round.