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Peres sworn in as Israeli president

Israeli elder statesman and Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres is sworn in as president.
AFP | By HT Correspondent, Jerusalem
UPDATED ON JUL 16, 2007 04:58 AM IST

Israeli elder statesman and Nobel peace laureate Shimon Peres was sworn in as president on Sunday, crowning an unparalleled career lasting more than half a century.

"I swear to be loyal to the state of Israel and its laws and to carry out my duties with conscience," Peres pledged before parliament, bidding goodbye to a chamber where he has sat for 48 years.

Peres took the oath of office less than three weeks shy of his 84th birthday, replacing disgraced Moshe Katsav in the largely ceremonial post for a seven-year term as Israel's ninth president.

His landslide election as president by the Knesset was the first vote for a top post that he has won.

"Shimon Peres is one of the most important figures in Israel over the past 60 years," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, leader of Peres's centrist Kadima party, said at the weekly cabinet meeting ahead of the ceremony.

"He is a person who is welcomed and known in the entire world as a representative of the state of Israel, and he is one of the best-known figures in the world."

Peres's landslide win in parliament on June 13 marked a triumph that laid to rest the ghosts of seven years past, when he famously lost the same ballot to the rightwing Katsav despite being the overwhelming favourite.

His election was the crowning triumph in a record-breaking career of a man who has held just about every major office in the past five decades and who has a political pedigree that is second to none.

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