(photo credit: REUTERS)
Labor leadership candidate Amir Peretz received a boost in Monday's runoff race against former environmental minister Avi Gabbay Wednesday when Histadrut Labor Federation chief Avi Nissenkorn endorsed him.
Peretz and Gabbay received the most votes among seven candidates in Tuesday's first round of voting, ousting incumbent Labor leader Isaac Herzog. In an effort to woo Herzog and his camp in the party, both Peretz and Gabbay will meet with him on Wednesday.
"Amir represents what Labor needs: A real socioeconomic leader who can connect the periphery to the center of the country," Nissenkorn said at a press conference at Labor's Tel Aviv headquarters. "His diplomatic ideology is sane. He has proven throughout his campaign that his values come first. He unites the people, and I believe he can unite the party and bring in new sectors to the party."
Peretz thanked Nissenkorn for his support. He said Labor cannot advance the peace process without giving a boost to the economy.
The press conference was attended by MKs who back Peretz in the race, including Nachman Shai, Hilik Bar, Itzik Shmuli, Eitan Broshi, and Revital Swid.
"Our victory yesterday was huge," Peretz said. "We are getting ready to complete the battle, win clearly, and become the party's candidate for prime minister. Netanyahu should start worrying."
Peretz said he expected the next general election to be held next May. He said he would also make an effort to work together well with Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, whose Hatnua Party Peretz left to rejoin Labor.
Asked how he intended to woo Herzog, Peretz said Herzog would realize that he could best stabilize the party and make it an alternative that can take power. He praised Herzog for running the party well and winning 24 seats for the Zionist Union in 2015.
"I want Herzog to remain part of the party," Peretz said. "I want Herzog to remain part of our battle."