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13 Jun, 2007 14:21

Israel’s new president Shimon Peres: nearly 50 years in politics

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and a veteran of Israeli politics, Shimon Peres, has been elected as the new president of Israel. With this political triumph Mr Peres is very near to breaking a world record that currently belongs only to the legendary Sir Wi

After a 48 year long political carrier, with almost no victories and a past label of a looser, Israel's newly elected president, Shimon Peres, sings Israel’s national anthem also as a song of victory. The 83-year-old won in the second round after being left as the sole candidate running.

“When you want to serve a nation and serve your land, your country, it is an important opportunity that calls for a great deal of responsibility and serenity and hope. And I do hope and do believe that I will should be able to serve my country properly,” Shimon Peres said as Israeli vice premier and presidential candidate.

After an unsuccessful Lebanese campaign and embarrassing accusations of corruption and misbehaviour made against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and previous president Moshe Katzav, Israelis are proud to see an internationally respected figure in the Jerusalem presidential residence.

“One can take the story of Shimon Peres’ life, deeds, contributions to the state of Israel and make a model out of it,” said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

But Mr Peres as president is not the only a political headline from Israel today. The Labour party re-elected previous Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, as its leader. The ex-military general is going to bring his security experience with him, and become Israel’s Minister of Defence.

For Ehud Olmert, the presence of the old ‘political lion’ in the president’s house might become a competition. Mr Peres is not a university scholar but a man of firm political agenda, and experienced enough to implement it. Under Shimon Peres the usually dull president’s office may become, for the first time in years, not only ceremonial, but a centre of political influence.