Peretz lashes out at former Labor MKs

Labor chairman Amir Peretz lashed out at departing Labor MKs Haim Ramon and Dalia Itzhak Monday, calling the recent swaps between political parties undemocratic and unethical. Without mentioning the two by name, Peretz told the Labor faction meeting that, if the new additions to Sharon's Kadima party had been carefully scrutinized, the MKs could be disqualified from the next Knesset. Although Itzik and Ramon have publicly declared that they are joining Kadima, they have not yet filed a formal request to switch parties and are still recognized as members of the Labor party. As long as they do not file any paperwork, and act within the constructs of the Labor party until the Knesset disperses itself, the two MKs are not violating any laws, and are eligible to run for the next Knesset with the Kadima party, said a Knesset legal expert. "Peretz can yell and criticize them, but they are within their legal rights because, even if they call themselves Kadima, they are still officially recognized as Labor," said the expert. If the two MKs had left the Labor party, section 6A of the Knesset bylaws would have prevented them for running under the new Kadima party. Peretz also criticized former prime minister Ehud Barak. "You don't want to get elected, you don't want to be part of this election, fine. Sit on the side and let us work," said Peretz during a radio interview Sunday morning. "Let us embark on this social revolution. and stop interfering all the time." Barak replied that he had never asked Peretz for anything, nor did he owe him anything. "The person who has deserted the party and has now returned to demolish it is Amir Peretz," said Barak. Peretz and Barak had met several times last month and even announced that they were on amicable terms. Following Barak's announcement that he would not vie for a spot on the Labor primary list, the former prime minister expressed doubt over Peretz's leadership abilities. In the meantime, Peretz's aides confirmed that the Labor Party chairman was likely to meet with former president Bill Clinton adviser Stanley Greenberg during his visit to Israel this week.