Six candidates vying for Israel's presidency have achieved the required 10 ministerial signatures of support for their candidacy.
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Former Knesset speaker Dalia Itzik, Professor Dan Shachtman and retired Justice Dalia Dorner have joined existing candidates Reuven Rivlin, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Meir Sheetrit, who are all currently serving as ministers. The candidacy list will close Wednesday.
The June 10 election in the Knesset will have a record number of candidates. According to estimates, due to the split in votes among candidates, none of them will manage to win the first round.
The various ministers who endorsed the candidates are not obligated to support them at the ballot box, and in fact many have already stated they do not intend on supporting the candidates they gave their signature to.
Upon obtaining the signatures, Dorner thanked the Knesset members for their support and said she was "pleased to see the diversity of public representatives comprising my list of signatories."
After announcing her candidacy early Monday, Itzik said "I believe Knesset members will convey a sharp and clear message that in 2014 Israel, the presidency is open to women."
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided against backing Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom, who as a result decided not to contest the election. That led a number of Likud MKs, including Zeev Elkin and Miri Regev, to announce their support for Rivlin.
Netanyahu is firmly opposed to Rivlin’s candidacy. Aides to Netanyahu yesterday contacted cabinet ministers and MKs and urged them not to announce their support for Rivlin until Netanyahu made a final decision on his choice for the post.