Peres: Many want to see me as president

Sunday, October 22, 2006 |  by Staff Writer
In an interview with Israel Channel Two’s Meet the Press, Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said that he knows there are many people who would like to see him as president of Israel. “It’s their right, not my obligation,” he said.

During the interview Peres was very cautious and stopped short of saying if he sees himself as a candidate. “When it will be relevant, we will discuss it. I am working very hard in a job I like very much. All of my life I thought that the essence of life is what you do. At this point, as long as we have a sitting president, I will continue my work and will not concentrate on anything else,” he said and added that he does not wish to speak about the subject and will not change his mind.

Peres also said that he will not comment on the presidential scandal as long as there has not been an official verdict. “He is entitled to enjoy his innocence, unless the situation changes, and I will not discuss it,” he said. Peres also said he is not angry that the prime minister is not supporting him publicly for the presidential bid. “I did not ask the prime minister for a promise.”

Peres also said that he thinks there is no need to dissolve the institution of the presidency in Israel. “The president is someone who represents Israel towards the outside. In addition, the president must intervene and help solve conflicts when needed,” he said.

Peres also rejected the proposal of a presidential system of government saying it is impossible to implement in Israel and has anti-democratic elements. He also said he will support the introduction of Avigdor Lieberman into the government as long as he accepts the basic principals of the government and that there will be no change in the makeup of the government. “The main partner is the Labor party and they should remain in the coalition,” he concluded.

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