Ayalon, Paz-Pines mull move to Meretz

Labor MKs hold talks with left-wing party; Oz, Burg, Grossman, Baram organize Meretz backing group.

Ami Ayalon 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ami Ayalon 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Labor MKs Ami Ayalon and Ophir Paz-Pines have held talks with Meretz and are apparently thinking about running for Knesset with Meretz in February's national elections. Thought none of the parties involved would discuss details, except to say that talks had been held, no firm denial was received on Tuesday. Ayalon is currently a minister-without-portfolio, and Paz-Pines is chairman of the Knesset's Internal Affairs and Environment Committee. Paz-Pines's spokesman told The Jerusalem Post he couldn't discuss the issue and Meretz's spokesman said the parties had held contacts in recent days. Ayalon failed to provide a response on the issue. On Monday, it was reported that several leading figures on the Left - authors Amos Oz and David Grossman and former Labor politicians such as Avraham Burg and Uzi Baram - were organizing a group that would back Meretz for the next Knesset. The Post spoke on Monday to Labor lawmakers and ministers who said these sorts of groupings were typical around election time, but usually didn't lead to anything serious. The Post tried to interview Ayalon on Monday on the issue, but he declined. Tuesday night's reports regarding Ayalon and Paz-Pines caught Labor chairman Ehud Barak's people unprepared. Barak and Ayalon were scheduled to meet late at night. Ayalon and Barak have disagreed on a series of issues over a long period, and Ayalon has criticized Barak for failures of leadership and the party's deteriorating position. In recent weeks it has also been reported that Ayalon was considering joining Kadima.