The President of Israel is elected by an absolute majority in the Knesset, by secret ballot. If no candidate has received an absolute majority of votes by the first round of voting, a second round, in which only the two most-voted candidates in the first round may participate, is held; the top vote-getter in the second round is the winner. From 1949 to 2000, the president was elected for a five-year term, and was allowed to serve up to two terms in office. Since 2000, the president serves a single seven-year term.
Any Israeli resident citizen is eligible to run for President. The office falls vacant upon completion of a term, death, resignation, or the decision of three-quarters of the Knesset to remove the president on grounds of misconduct or incapacity. Presidential tenure is not keyed to that of the Knesset, in order to assure continuity in government and the non-partisan character of the office. There is no vice president in the Israeli governmental system. If the president is temporarily incapacitated, or leaves office, the speaker of the Knesset becomes acting president.
The first presidential election took place on 16 February 1949, and the winner was Chaim Weizmann. The second took place in 1951, as at the time presidential terms were linked to the length of the Knesset term (the first Knesset lasted only two years). Another election took place the following year after Weizmann's death.
Since then, elections have been held in 1957, 1962, 1963 (an early election following Yitzhak Ben-Zvi's death), 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2007, and 2014. Six elections (1951, 1957, 1962, 1968, 1978, and 1988) have taken place with no opposition candidate, although a vote was still held.