Amir Peretz announces he’s vacating Labor leadership

Labor chairman Amir Peretz announces he’s stepping aside as leader of the dovish party, after driving Labor to its lowest-ever showing in the past election and later breaking his campaign promise not to join a government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peretz, in a Facebook post, writes: “Out of a sense of responsibility, I am announcing that in the upcoming elections, I won’t lead the Labor party and I won’t head the party in the Knesset. At this time, the Labor party needs renewal and must choose a new chairman and leadership.”

Peretz — the longest-serving MK in Knesset — also says he turned down an offer for a senior spot on the Blue and White list, but stops short of announcing his full resignation from political life. Peretz is seeking to be nominated president after Reuven Rivlin steps down in the summer.

He also defends his decision to join the coalition, saying he only did so after Blue and White agreed to join forces with Netanyahu. During previous election campaigns, Peretz famously shaved his mustache so that Israelis could “read his lips” and promised he won’t join up with Netanyahu.

Economy Minister Amir Peretz in Jerusalem on May 18, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Recent polls have shown Labor failing to cross the electoral threshold.

The party won just three seats as part of its alliance with Gesher and Meretz in the March 2020 election.