Former Labor leader Amir Peretz says he is quitting the party following the ascension of MK Merav Michaeli to party leader in Sunday’s primaries. But he says he will stay on as economy minister for the time being, to keep the balance of power in the coalition until a new government is formed after the March election.
Peretz accuses Michaeli of “a campaign of hate” against him.
Followqing her election, Michaeli had asked Peretz and the party’s MK Itzik Shmuli to resign from the coalition immediately. She was a fierce opponent of Peretz’s decision to enter the current coalition, after repeatedly promising not to join a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — and even shaving off his famous mustache so voters could read his lips.
Peretz restates that he will not run as part of any political party in the coming election.