(photo credit: REUTERS)
MK Amir Peretz is leaning toward running for leadership of the Labor Party if a compromise can be reached on a spring 2017 date for the race, Peretz said Monday in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
Peretz led Labor from November 2005, when he defeated Shimon Peres, to June 2007, when he lost to Ehud Barak. He later left Labor to join Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party, but he returned to Labor last year.
Labor secretary-general Hilik Bar has been trying to reach a compromise on a date for the race between MK Shelly Yacimovich, who wants it held at the end of 2016, and current party chairman Isaac Herzog, who is insisting on holding it at the end of 2017.
“If the election is held at a reasonable time, such as between March and June, there is a very good chance I would run,” Peretz said, adding that he will only make a final decision after the date for the race is set.
Peretz called upon Herzog, Yacimovich, and other potential candidates to compromise and agree on a date for the race, which according to Labor’s constitution was supposed to be held already last month.
“I don’t think the public cares about the date the way they do about the actual views of the candidates,” he said. “I have experience on diplomatic and socioeconomic issues, and in politics I was the Labor chairman who took eight seats from the Right in 2006.
Whether we can do that will be the key test for the Center-Left in the next election.”
Peretz would like Center-Left parties to agree ahead of the next election to recommend the leader of the largest party among them to form the next government. When asked whether the Center-Left parties should all run together, he said polls would have to be taken.
Peretz won votes away from the Likud by focusing on a socioeconomic agenda. Since then, he gained security experience as the defense minister in the Second Lebanon War, which he hopes would help him gain more support from traditional Likud voters.
“I see Netanyahu as the problem, not the solution, and the Likudniks as the solution, not the problem,” Peretz said.
“Many Likudniks are sick of Netanyahu.
We need to turn to them as partners and show we care about them and are not just using them for their votes.”