Elections 2015

Peres endorses ‘levelheaded’ Herzog for prime minister

Former president and PM praises ‘dedicated’ Zionist Union leader; Likud slams ‘avowed leftist’ Peres

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog and ex-president Shimon Peres on  November 24, 2013. (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)
Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog and ex-president Shimon Peres on November 24, 2013. (photo credit: Mark Neyman/GPO/FLASH90)

Former president and prime minister Shimon Peres on Thursday threw his support behind the Zionist Union’s Isaac Herzog for prime minister in the upcoming March 17 elections.

In his statement announcing his endorsement, Peres hailed Herzog as a “levelheaded leader who is reliable, and full of responsibility and dedication to the Israeli public.”

“It’s natural that people will have different opinions and vote according to their conscience. As for me — I support Isaac Herzog for the premiership,” he said.

Peres did not mention Tzipi Livni, the party’s no. 2, who according to the merger agreement between her and Herzog would rotate the premiership if the party leads the government.

Peres, long-time Labor party member and two-time premier, was prime minister when Herzog’s father, Chaim Herzog, was president.

“I know Isaac Herzog and his family for many years. I saw him from up-close excel in senior positions, and taking part in weighty discussions and decisions for Israel’s future,” Peres said.

In response, the Likud party said in a statement: “It’s obvious that Peres, an avowed leftist, supports Boujie and Tzipi [Herzog and Livni]. He is the architect of the Oslo Accords, an enthusiastic supporter of the disengagement, and a proponent of withdrawal from the West Bank.”

Recent polls have Herzog’s Zionist Union beating out the ruling Likud party by three or four seats, though more voters view Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the best-suited candidate for the premiership.

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