Paz-Pines declares support for Barak

Labor leadership candidate says if he wins primary he'll call on PM to quit.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
MK Ophir Paz-Pines on Wednesday declared his support for Ehud Barak for the upcoming second round of the Labor Party primary. Paz-Pines, who finished in fourth place in the first round with 8% of the vote, told a press conference: "I have already said that my decision on who to endorse will be linked to the position taken concerning the Winograd report and it seems that Ami Ayalon has not formulated a stance with which to come to the Labor Central Committee." "I am not a man of deals - I haven't made any deal with Barak," he added. Barak opened the press conference by saying: "After I am elected party chairman on June 12, I plan to propose to the Winograd Committee that (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert must draw the (right) conclusions from the report and quit, just like (former chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan) Halutz and (outgoing Defense Minister Amir) Peretz have done." Barak went on to say that if Olmert refused to quit until the publication of the final report he would be forced to "end the partnership" and work on establishing a new coalition in the current Knesset or setting a date for early elections. Paz-Pines's declaration of support came after Peretz formally endorsed Barak's rival Ami Ayalon. Army Radio reported that earlier Wednesday, Ayalon met Paz-Pines to try and convince him not to join the Barak camp.