PM Olmert Supports Initiative for Open Knesset Vote for President

MKs Marciano and Hasson say their initiative will limit influence of political and internal interests on the vote.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday announced that he supports the proposal to elect the nation's president in an open vote.

The initiative was presented on Sunday by MKs Yoram Marciano (Labor) and Yoel Hasson (Kadima), who proposed amending the Basic Law on the President of the State and holding an open vote, rather than secret ballot, when electing the next president.

MK Hasson said that in the secret ballot method political and internal interests trample public interests, resulting in candidates that aren't necessarily the public's preference.

He said the open vote would force MKs to vote for a candidate deemed acceptable by the public.

MK Gideon Sa'ar, Likud's faction head in Knesset, opposed the proposal, the aim which he said is to take away MKs' freedom to vote.

He said transparency would revert the presidential vote to a state of being directed by coalition and partisan agreements.