In what could amount to a serious violation of his role as president, Shimon Peres indicated on Wednesday that his personal political views will be the most important factor in choosing Israel's next prime minister.
Peres is already dragging out his duty to tap either Benjamin Netanyahu or Tzipi Livni to form the next government much longer than most would have liked.
And now some say it is clear why - Peres has been trying to find a way to justify choosing the candidate that most embodies his own convictions regarding the peace process, security and the economy.
The Israeli president's role in choosing the next prime minister is a largely ceremonial one. The president is supposed to give the nod to the candidate that has the best chance of forming a stable ruling coalition, without regard to policies and positions.
But that didn't stop Peres from declaring that for him "the issue is not only who will be the prime minister but what will be the policy of the State of Israel."
Peres is a member of Livni's Kadima Party, one of the primary authors of the land-for-peace process, and an avowed socialist. All of these facts make him diametrically opposed to the policies of Netanyahu and the Likud.
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