Israel’s parliament has elected veteran politician and Nobel peace prize winner Shimon Peres as its new president.
He won the second round of a vote in parliament after the two other contenders dropped out and backed him.
His election means he will have to step down as deputy prime minister, and takes him out of the race to replace Ehud Olmert.
“I was chosen today to represent all Israelis, and will do all I can to improve our path to unity and democracy,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Peres replaces outgoing president Moshe Katsav, who is on leave of absence since being accused in January of raping a former colleague and sexually assaulting several others.
Though the Israeli president is not be directly involved in policy-making, he traditionally speaks out on key issues influencing political decisions and gets to meet world leaders.