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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Labor faction chair Yoram Marciano said on Monday he believes party legislators will endorse Vice Premier Shimon Peres of Kadima for president, and not Labor MK Colette Avital.
Marciano has told Avital repeatedly over the last few months that the faction would back her. But he recently met with Peres and promised to remove her from the race.
"What can I do? Peres is more qualified than she is to be president," Marciano told Channel 2.
Marciano's spokesman confirmed the report and said Peres had been invited to address the faction in two weeks, a year and a half after he left Labor for Kadima following his loss to Amir Peretz in the party's leadership race. Marciano served as Peres's campaign manager in that race.
Labor's support would give Peres a big boost, perhaps even allowing Kadima to pass the so-called Peres bill that would end secret-ballot voting for the next president.
Avital said she spoke with Peretz and received a commitment that Labor would continue to back her, but Channel 2 reported that Peretz added the words, "for now."
"To the best of my knowledge, all of Labor is behind me, and I am working under that assumption," Avital said. "The other side is using psychological warfare against me, but I am not giving up."
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