MK vows Barak will lead Labor

But he denied reports that he had tried unsuccessfully to persuade some of the nine candidates in the race to quit and support Barak.

By
May 8, 2017 23:38
2 minute read.
EHUD BARAK has attacked Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him ‘the worst prime minister in Israel’s histor

EHUD BARAK has attacked Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him ‘the worst prime minister in Israel’s history.’. (photo credit: COURTESY EYAL BASSON/DARKENU)

 
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Ehud Barak will be Labor’s candidate for prime minister in the next general election, regardless of the results of the July 4 primary, Zionist Union MK Manuel Trajtenberg told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Trajtenberg confirmed that he has tried to facilitate a political comeback for Barak.

But he denied reports that he had tried unsuccessfully to persuade some of the nine candidates in the race to quit and support Barak.

“I still think that Barak will be our leader,” Trajtenberg said.

The former prime minister and Labor leader opted to not run in the primary. But his associates said that if he is approached by Labor and other parties in the Center and Left to lead a bloc that will challenge Likud in the next election, he would have a tough time turning down such an offer.

To that end, a group of longtime Barak aides and allies formed a nonprofit organization that could be used as a platform for a future Barak run. Haaretz reported Monday that the organization was registered by former Barak aides Oshi Elmaliah and Dana Zaidman and Barak’s niece Tal Brog.

The organization is called Ayrayut Leumit Israel Habayit Sheli (“national responsibility, Israel is my house” in Hebrew).

One of the people involved denied that it was intended to serve as a platform for Barak or that it would ever run as a party. The source said Barak could revive his former Independence Party if he decided to run.

Barak has repeatedly denied that he intends to make a political comeback. But he met last week with former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and discussed possible future political cooperation.

The candidates in the race are incumbent Isaac Herzog; MKs Erel Margalit, Omer Bar Lev, and Amir Peretz; former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay; former OC Northern Command Amiram Levin; historian Avner Ben-Zaken; Ra’anana Labor activist Hod Karubi; and socioeconomic activist Dina Dayan.

Labor will set its final list of members eligible to vote in the primary on Tuesday afternoon.

The list is expected to include some 53,000 members after some 5,000 membership forms were disqualified due to missing information and alleged forgeries.

An additional 7,000 forms were questioned and could have been disqualified as well. Had Labor fallen below 50,000 members, its candidates would have been subjected to the laws for small parties rather than large ones, which would have significantly diminished the amount of money that candidates could raise and spend in the race.

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