Loophole could keep Peretz at Labor helm until 2009

Defense minister indicates plans to take advantage of tenure extenstion measure.

December 8, 2006 01:22
2 minute read.
Loophole could keep Peretz at Labor helm until 2009

peretz 88. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Anyone who was hoping that Defense Minister Amir Peretz would be voted out of the Labor leadership in upcoming months will be disappointed to hear that due to a loophole in the party constitution, it is possible that there will be no primary until February 2009. In a story first reported by Israel Radio's Yoav Krakovsky, Labor activists close to Peretz have discovered a clause in the party's constitution that extends a requirement to hold a primary within 14 months of Labor losing a general election to 35 months. They found that a measure that was enacted at a 2004 Labor convention to extend Shimon Peres's tenure as interim party chairman changed the constitution and set a precedent that Peretz could use to remain in power. Peretz seemed to indicate that he would take advantage of the loophole when he told Labor's executive committee at the party's Tel Aviv headquarters on Thursday night that he would "respect the decisions of the party institutions and move forward with the democratic process." The Labor central committee had been expected to set a June 5 date for the leadership race at its convention next Thursday. But according to the new interpretation of the constitution, the committee could now decide to hold the race any time within the remaining 26 months ahead of the deadline. "The election will not be in June," a source close to Peretz said matter-of-factly. "The constitution says explicitly, decisively and clearly that the rule has been amended from 14 months to 35." Labor officials speculated at Thursday's meeting that every potential Labor leader could support delaying the race, except for the current front-runner, MK Ami Ayalon, who wants to hold the primary as soon as possible. Former prime minister Ehud Barak, for instance, could use time to rebuild his base of support in the party. Ayalon, who wants to replace Peretz as defense minister, acknowledged the possibility that all the Labor contenders could decide to gang up on him, even it meant allowing Peretz to remain defense minister until 2009. But he said he trusted the central committee members to prevent such a scenario from taking place. "The central committee members are sane and understand that the party's support has fallen because of its leadership," Ayalon told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting. "I am not worried, because I believe the central committee members will trust their gut and do what they can to bring the party back to power." Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who reportedly has been indirectly trying to pressure Peretz to quit the Defense Ministry for weeks, changed his tune in his annual meeting with newspaper editors in Tel Aviv on Thursday. "My relationship with Amir Peretz is better than that of any prime minister and his defense minister in the past 15 years." He said it was natural to "disagree on certain things," because they were the heads of different parties, but he thought Peretz should stay in his position. "I have no intention of replacing him," he said. In a statement following Olmert's press conference, the Likud said: "Peretz is just as qualified to be defense minister as Olmert is to be prime minister." Amir Mizroch contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town