Barak Likely to Support Peres for Israeli Presidency

Published May 29th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is likely to support former Prime Minister Shimon Peres for the post of president after Ezer Weizman steps down from the job in July, sources close to Barak said Sunday. 

Weizman announced earlier Sunday that he would resign on July 10 after narrowly avoiding prosecution on allegations of corruption and tax fraud. 

His decision followed a report by State Attorney Eliyakim Rubinstein on Wednesday criticizing Weizman for accepting cash gifts from a French businessman, Edouard Saroussi. 

"The prime minister is likely to support Peres for the post," the sources close to Barak told AFP. 

A successor for Weizman, who served seven years as Israel's seventh president, will be chosen by parliament, or the Knesset, on July 26 and the new president will take office on August 2, Israeli public television said. 

The top candidate to succeed him appears to be Peres, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his key role in negotiating the 1993 Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians and who is currently serving as regional cooperation minister in Barak's government. 

Another possible candidate is former transport minister Moshe Katzav from the right-wing opposition Likud group. 

Weizman admitted receiving half a million dollars in cash gifts from Saroussi before he became head of state in 1993 – OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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