Indirect presidential elections were held in Israel on 13 June 2007. The Knesset elected Shimon Peres, a former Prime Minister and a member of the Kadima party. His opponents were Reuven Rivlin, a former Knesset speaker, of the Likud Party, and Colette Avital, of the Labor party. After the first round of voting put Peres in a commanding lead, but just short of the absolute majority required for election, Rivlin and Avital bowed out and Peres was elected easily in the second round.
The deadline for candidates to announce their intention to run was twenty days before the election, i.e. by 25 May.
Avital was the first Labor candidate to officially announce her intention to run. She gained the backing of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who at the time was running an ultimately successful campaign to regain the leadership of the Labor Party. However, it appeared that most Labor MKs were likely to back ex-Laborite Shimon Peres, who was then serving as Vice Prime Minister.
Peres, however, was advised not to stand by his campaign adviser, in the belief that he would not win enough votes in a secret ballot, and that a defeat would be bad for his image. This came after the legislation for the "Peres Law", which would replace a secret ballot with an open one, was postponed until after the election by its creator, Kadima's Yoel Hasson. The bill was seen as a means of protecting Peres from another upset defeat, after his loss to then-little known Likud MK Moshe Katsav by a 63–57 vote in the 2000 presidential election. Nevertheless, Peres was named as Kadima's official candidate on 28 May, and won the support of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the influential spiritual leader of Shas.
Other persons who had been considered as possible candidates included Dalia Itzik (Kadima), Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor), Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and Meir Shamgar. Rabbi Lau had been warned not to run for the post by Labor MK and former journalist Shelly Yachimovich. Yachimovich stated that were Lau to run, "certain stories from the past may arise, including some that have never been publicized."
The election was expected to be a close race between Peres and Rivlin. However, the first-round results left Peres only three votes short of a majority, at which point his opponents conceded the race. Following his election, Peres promptly resigned as Vice Prime Minister, and began his seven-year term as President on 15 July 2007.
|Candidate||Party||First round||Second round|
|Colette Avital||Labor Party||21||19.09|
- Ilan, Shahar; Mazal Mualem (2007-06-13). "Peres wins presidency as challengers bow out". Haaretz. Retrieved 2007-06-13.
- Knesset panel agrees on June 13 for presidential election Haaretz, 9 May 2007
- Ex-PM Ehud Barak backs Labor's Colette Avital for presidency Haaretz, 27 March 2007 Avital
- Labor Party wants Peres, calls Avital to forego candidacy Ynetnews, 26 January 2007
- Campaign adviser to Peres: Pull out of race for president Haaretz, 13 May 2007
- MK Hasson puts 'Peres bill' on hold[permanent dead link] Jerusalem Post, 20 March 2007
- Katsav sworn in amid controversy BBC News, 1 August 2000
- Olmert names Shimon Peres as Kadima presidential candidate Haaretz, 28 May 2005
- Yishai tells Peres: Rabbi Ovadia has decided to support you for president Haaretz, 4 June 2007