Barak announces resignation
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Former minister Moshe Shahal
Photo: Zoom 77
Former MK Hagai Meirom
Photo: Knesset site
Tunisia, earthquake. These are the words used by former senior Labor Party members to describe the party's situation following the resignation of party chairman, Ehud Barak. "The Labor Party is like Tunisia – divided into militias," former minister Moshe Shahal told Ynet.
He also revealed that in the last few days he had provided legal advice to a group of Knesset members seeking to resign and establish an independent faction. According to Shahal, Barak's move has paved the way for their resignation and possibly, joining the Kadima party.
"The situation is very fluid the party could continue to split like an ameba," Shahal said as he noted that MK Amir Peretz, Eitan Cabel, Raleb Majadele and Daniel Ben-Simon sought his advice. "Barak's move released the group from party restrictions as there are only eight members left in the faction. Theoretically speaking, they can go to Kadima."
Former MK Hagai Meirom also believes that an additional split, the Peretz group split, will occur within the party. There is no doubt that this move eased the path of their resignation. "Like with major earthquakes, secondary quakes and aftershocks are expected within hours or days. The Peretz group is deliberating the option, they may resign and then decide whether to join Kadima or return to the Labor Party."
"The question is, will efforts be taken to revive the party," Meirom noted. "In the current situation, after the resignations, the party will have three members each more individualistic than the other: Avishay Braverman – the heir apparent, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who isn't seeking the crown but sees this as a rare opportunity to act as temporary chairman, and Shelly Yachimovich who is still testing her political powers.
"The remaining members aren't a unified group, they lack political unity. The real question is – who will claim the Labor Party crown – together with its name and obligations."
Meirom estimated that the Independence faction established by Barak would join the Likud. He referred to the letter Barak sent to members of the Labor Party on behalf of the resigning members: "They cast all the responsibility for the party's collapse on to Amir Peretz's 'quartet' but forget that Ehud Barak was the party's real destroyer for completely eviscerating party democracy and for running the party like his own personal business venture."
"Barak made a significant and surprising move. The major embarrassment obliges both those resigning from the party and those staying to decide who or what the Labor Party is," Shahal concluded.
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