Peres reconsidering running for Knesset

shimon peres 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
shimon peres 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Former prime minister Shimon Peres is considering running for Knesset with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Kadima party. "I cannot remain without a party and outside the Knesset," Peres said. "I haven't decided yet what I will do, but I am leaning toward being on the list and in the next Knesset." Following his loss to Labor chairman Amir Peretz in last month's Labor primary, Peres announced that he supported Sharon's re-election. Sharon promised Peres a senior portfolio if he wins the March 28 election, but until the interview, Peres was not expected to seek a seat in the Knesset, where he has served since 1959. However, Peres informed Sharon that he was considering running for Knesset when the two men met on Sunday and Sharon replied that he was welcome on the Kadima list. Shortly after the conversation, Sharon suffered his mild stroke and went to the hospital. Channel 10's Dan Margalit reported on Friday night that Sharon's stroke convinced Peres that he could be prime minister again if he becomes Sharon's second in command. Peres's spokesman called the report "nonsense." The spokesman said Peres's decision about whether to run for the Knesset would not be impacted by polls published recently that indicated that Peres was the public's top choice to serve as Sharon's number two in Kadima. A source close to Sharon said that the second slot on the Kadima list would go to either Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. "Peres will be in a high place on the list but I don't think he will be in the top five," the source said.