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Monday, 31 July, 2000, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Peres suffers shock presidency defeat

On a crucial day for the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Barak, a key ally has failed to secure the country's presidency in a vote in parliament.

Despite being widely expected to win, the former prime minister and Nobel Prize winner, Shimon Peres, was defeated in a shock result by a relatively unknown candidate from the opposition Likud Party, Moshe Katsav. In a second round of balloting, Mr Katsav, won sixty-three votes to fifty-seven for Mr Peres.

He'll replace Ezer Weizman, who resigned three weeks ago following a scandal over his acceptance of thousands of dollars from a French business tycoon.

Later, deputies began debating a no-confidence motion in Mr Barak's minority government.

The motion's been brought by the right-wing opposition, which accuses the Prime Minister of making unacceptable concessions to the Palestinians at the failed Camp David peace summit in the United States. Mr Barak lost his parliamentary majority when three parties left the coalition on the eve of peace talks.

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