Kadima party ministers approved on Sunday Vice Premier Shimon Peres as their party's presidential candidate, drawing support for the “Peres Bill,” which changes the government’s presidential vote from a closed to open ballot system.
“Approving this bill means that each party will impose its will on MKs (parliament members),” said Meir Sheetrit, the construction and housing minister. “It is unfair and should not be passed.”
Pending the approval of the ballot, Peres is looking to have a clear majority.
Under the current system for presidential appointment, lawmakers can vote as they like for the presidency. If the new bill is approved, they will need to follow their party's line, giving Peres the coalition's majority. Member of Knesset Yoel Hasson proposed the new bill after Peres lost the 2000 presidential election by six votes according to the secret ballot system.
Proposals for a new ballot come following President Moshe Katsav declaring his “temporary incapacity.” Katsav is under investigation having been accused of committing rape and other sexual crimes. Attorney General Menahem Mazuz said he would indict the president if charged.