Labor members: Peres is done
Labor party members cast doubts whether 82-year-old Peres can pursue new political role following defeat in primaries to Amir Peretz. Vice Premier’s eldest son accuses party members of causing injustice to his father, noting that he will recommend his father make ‘drastic decision’
Labor party members have cast doubts whether 82-year-old Shimon Peres can pursue a new political role following his defeat in the primaries to Amir Peretz.
Many Peres supporters are eagerly waiting for their leader to make a public statement regarding the future of his political career, as the veteran Labor politician has kept quiet since news of his defeat spread early Thursday morning.
While some wait, others are of the opinion that the time has come for Peres to retire, wrapping up a political career that spread over half a century.
Chemi Peres, the elder son of the vice premier, accused Labor party members of causing injustice to his father, noting that he had recommended his father make a “drastic decision.”
The word at Labor headquarters is that “Peres is finished.”
Tonight Peres will join friends and family for a meal in a Tel Aviv restaurant where he will discuss his plans for the future. It remains unclear whether Peres will attend Friday’s Labor faction meeting in Tel Aviv, or whether he will stay away from the party for some time.
“Peres is deeply hurt; very surprised,” a Labor member said.
“It is no coincidence that he hasn’t called Peretz to offer his congratulations. His silence is sending the clearest message,” the source said.
What will happen next?
Peretz’s surprise victory has done more than make party members wonder about the political future of Peres. The future of the party is in question as some fear that the narrow victory of 3 percent will split Labor.
Amid doubts about the prospect of bridging the gaps between the Peres and Peretz camps, Labor members have rushed to reassure that a split is unlikely and all party members will put aside their differences in the interest of the party.
“We will summon in one furrow; we will unite behind Amir and move forward. The general elections are the target now,” a senior Labor member told Ynet.
The election of Peretz to the Labor chairmanship has sent shock waves across Israel’s political spectrum, with Shinui holding a meeting to discuss its position now that Labor will apparently exit the coalition and head the opposition, and associates of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declaring that “the prime minister would like to see an election date set within two weeks and to hold the elections within four months.”
Sharon’s associates added that the prime minister has decided to remain in Likud and they are confident he will win "big" in the primaries.
As pundits and politicians ponder over the possible scenarios in the wake of the new development, Peretz is readying to embrace the new post with a series of meetings on Sunday, the first of which will be with Sharon to discuss the exit of Labor from the coalition with Likud.
Peretz will also hold talks with Labor ministers and party members to discuss Labor’s political agenda.
The ruling Likud has also been busy pondering over the repercussions of Peretz’ victory with close associates to Sharon saying that Peres’ defeat is “bad for Bibi Netenyahu.”
“There is danger that if Bibi wins the Likud primaries, Peretz will win the general elections,” they said.