Photo: AP
Peretz and Olmert
Photo: AP
Olmert asks Peretz to restrain rebels
Bad feelings pervaded relations between PM Olmert and Labor leader Peretz over 2006 budget; Monday meeting ends with both stressing that coalition is stable

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz decided Monday to set aside their egos and held an appeasement meeting to "clean the table" from bad feelings.


Last week, tension rose between the two men over the Drugs Basket and other political dramas. In Monday's one-on-one meeting, Peretz and Olmert discussed ways to strengthen a fragile coalition.


Aides reported the meeting was positive and both leaders agreed to do all to stabilize the coalition government.


Olmert expressed ire over the attitude of a number of Labor MKs who abstained from the budget vote by the Knesset Finance Committee.


Peretz said he would try to "restrain" rebellious Labor MKs.


Meanwhile, tensions remained high between Peretz and five Labor rebels who disapprove of his leadership. Avishay Braverman, Ami Ayalon,
Colette Avital, Matan Vilnai and Danny Yatom, held talks Monday afternoon in preparation for a party meeting Thursday. The five hope for an eventual ouster of Peretz, but their first meeting was short on drama, as the five only accomplished the mundane task of assigning lists of party activists to call ahead of Thursday's meeting.


Labor ministers on Monday voiced support for Labor Party Secretary-General MK Eitan Cabel who fell out-of-favor with the Labor rebels.


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