With the resignation of Avi Gabay, the race for the leadership of the Labor Party is on – but one of the leading candidates for the job, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, said over the weekend that he was unlikely to seek the post. Instead, he said in an interview, he was likely to start a new party. “I will make a decision on whether to run in the near future. It would not be right to run with the Labor Party.”
Recent media reports have quoted Barak as saying that he is interested in getting back into politics, and intends to involve colleagues from the past, including former ministers Tzippy Livni and Dan Meridor, former IDF general Yair Golan, and possibly former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott. Barak would be the top member of the party.
Speaking to Channel 12, Barak said that it would not be proper to run with the Labor Party, since he had been absent from party politics for several years. Media reports in recent weeks have quoted him as saying that with his new party and the votes for the Blue and White party, Prime Minister Netanyahu “will have a hard time standing up to us and to Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.”
With that, the reports said, he has been leaving open the option of returning to Labor, and has been in touch with MKs Itzik Shmuli and Amir Peretz seeking support for the move. Both MKs are currently candidates for party leadership. The party will choose a new head in primaries to be held in the coming weeks.