Democratic Union MK Stav Shaffir took steps toward running independently of Meretz in the March 2 election, a source close to her said Tuesday night, confirming a report on Channel 12.Shaffir finished second to Amir Peretz in the last Labor leadership race but then left the party and joined together with Meretz and former prime minister Ehud Barak to form the Democratic Union. Shaffir joined the union as the head of the Green Movement. But after the union won only five seats in the September election, current and former MKs in Meretz want to see former MK Esawi Frej promoted at Shaffir’s expense, because he can bring the party votes in the Arab sector at the expense of the Joint List. Frej, who was fourth in Meretz, did not make the current Knesset, because of reserved slots for Shaffir and Barak’s ally, Yair Golan.“The top four of Meretz must come first and key bonds with terrific MKs like Stav Shaffir, Yair Golan and others must come only afterward,” former Meretz MK Mossi Raz wrote on Twitter. “The requests to add this or that MK harm our efforts to ensure Arab representation in Meretz, which harms the party, so we can never agree to that.”Shaffir vowed to keep trying to build a strong political bloc on the Left.“I am continuing to work on a larger union on the Left that will include the Democratic Union Labor and others,” Shaffir told The Jerusalem Post. “I am calling for open primaries for the list, which would bring new energy to the camp and enable setting the list according to the will of the public and not a political deal among political hacks. I will continue to fight for our constituents who believed in our path to be represented in the Knesset.”But just in case, Shaffir hired campaign staff in order to run independently as head of the Green Party, which would also include former Zionist Union MK Yael Cohen-Paran.“We are getting ready regardless of what will happen in Meretz,” Cohen-Paran said. “We will do what it takes to ensure that Bibi is removed from office.”Barak, who is not running in the March 2 election after running in September, intends to get involved in an effort to keep the Democratic Union together, Channel 13 reported.Meanwhile, the Executive Committee of the Labor Party decided on Tuesday that Amir Peretz will continue to head the party and its list for Knesset would remain the same. The committee, which is made up of Peretz’s allies, decided to maintain the party’s partnership with the Gesher party of MK Orly Levy-Abecassis.Those decisions all require approval from additional institutions in Labor. A decision about whether Meretz and Labor-Gesher will run together will only be made just ahead of the January 15 deadline for lists to be submitted to the Central Elections Committee.Labor-Gesher already began a campaign attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on socioeconomic issues.