Former Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni has urged President Shimon Peres to resign his post and run in upcoming elections as leader of a center-left party, Haaretz reported on Thursday.
Livni, who hasn’t yet declared whether she intends to return to politics, discussed the matter in meetings with Peres at his office and over the telephone over the last several weeks.
Former Kadima minister Haim Ramon has also participated in efforts to convince the elder statesman to return to the political field, according to the report.
Livni is reportedly uncomfortable running as former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s No. 2 (should he decide to return to politics) but is fine with playing second fiddle to Peres. Nor does she want to form her own party.
Livni served as foreign minister under Olmert during his term as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.
The paper reported that Peres, 89, is the only figure among center-left politicians capable of drawing votes away from the right-wing parties, and able to convince the religious Shas party to side with the center-left and approve his nomination as prime minister.
In 1990, Peres famously tried to pull Shas into an alternative ruling coalition that would have stripped then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir of power. The attempt, widely known as “the stinking maneuver,” ultimately failed when a key MK refused to join Peres.
Political sources familiar with the conversations between Peres and Livni said that Peres has thus far not ruled out the possibility that he would give up his mostly ceremonial office and and run in the upcoming elections, but has not responded in the affirmative either.
On Wednesday, however, Peres told reporters in Moscow that he had no interest in returning to politics.
“I thank those people who support and put their confidence in me, but I’m already serving the people and the country, and have been doing so for the past five years,” Peres said. “I will continue to fill that role for as long as necessary.”