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May 19, 2014 AT 5:30 AM
The race to succeed Shimon Peres as Israel's president began officially on Monday, after what was widely seen as a bid by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to abolish the post and its king-making potential. Legislators will elect a new president on June 10, Speaker of Parliament Yuli Edelstein announced. At least five candidates are expected to vie for the position of head of state, in a contest that Edelstein said had already begun with smears against several likely contenders.